The Favourites of… the Boijmans Children’s Council

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has had a real Children’s Council since August 2016. The members of the Council are Ana, Wendel, Mirthe, Helena, Sergen, Cesar, Rosalie and Fabian. For a whole school year the Boijmans Children’s Council gives advice about how to make Boijmans exhibitions and the museum more fun and more child-friendly. The museum has already learned a lot from the children! Every member of the Council has their own favourite work. In this post we highlight some of their favourites.

Helena’s favourite: ‘Orpheus, Eurydice and Aristaeus’ by Jacopo del Sellaio

The work is different from most paintings, which are usually just pictures, with no great story to tell. Here there is a whole story in one painting; it begins in the middle and ends in a place you can’t see. I think about this painting almost every evening and then I see the picture in front of me and I tell the story to myself because I like it so much. And it was nice to talk about this painting to my classmates, but not all of the children from my class were there.

Fabian’s favourite: ‘The Tower of Babel’ by Pieter Bruegel

My favourite painting in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is the Tower of Babel by Bruegel.  I like it because the Tower of Babel looks real and so it inspires me. I have a picture of the Tower of Babel framed on the wall in my room. I love looking at the painting!

Pieter Bruegel, De toren van Babel, c. 1568, olieverf op doek, verworven met de verzameling van D.G. van Beuningen in 1958.
Pieter Bruegel, De toren van Babel, c. 1568, olieverf op doek, verworven met de verzameling van D.G. van Beuningen in 1958.

Wendel’s favourite: 'Monsieur et Madame' by Joan Miró

I think that Monsieur et Madame (Sir and Madam) by Joan Miró is the best work of art in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. I think it is very funny because you know that one of the ‘stools’ is the woman and the other is the man. Only you don’t know which ‘stool’ is the woman and which is the man so you really have to think about this artwork and I like to do that. I also think that it’s a funny artwork because the stools look like they’re made of wood but they aren’t. The stools are made of bronze. If you didn’t know the title of the work, you would probably think they were just two stools but when you hear the name you might think – oh, so these are stools of this size and colours. I also really like Miró’s paintings because you can think up your own story for them.

Rosalie’s favourite: ‘Two Horses in a Landscape’ by Hans Memling

Whenever I see a horse I look for a horn between its ears. I hope to see unicorns everywhere. You could almost walk past it because it is so small and hangs unobtrusively in the corner of the room, but something in the painting makes me curious. No, they aren’t unicorns but what’s that on the back of the white horse? The white horse has its head right down to the ground as if it is eating or drinking and the brown horse looks slightly to the left. What could it be looking at? I want to know more about it.

It says on the Boijmans website that it ‘was probably the right shutter of a diptych of an allegory of love. On the left shutter, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, there is a portrait of a woman with a flower in her hand, a sign that she is in love.’ I think perhaps the painter or the woman was actually mad about horses, as I am about unicorns, and they thought that monkeys were just really nice animals, or they had a monkey as a pet, and so the spirit of the monkey got on to the horse. And as her love for horses was so great, and the monkey was her favourite pet, wouldn’t it be really nice to bring the two paintings back together? So that the woman can look at her horses, and the horse can look at the woman. And perhaps until then the painting in Boijmans could be hung on the right so that the horse could enjoy looking into the room and not at the wall.

Hans Memling, Two horses in a landscape, c. 1490, oil on panel, acquired with the collection of D.G. van Beuningen in 1958.
Hans Memling, Two horses in a landscape, c. 1490, oil on panel, acquired with the collection of D.G. van Beuningen in 1958.

Mirthe’s favourite: ‘The Tower of Babel’ by Pieter Bruegel

I think that the Tower of Babel is fantastic because you can really see how the tower is made. By lots and lots of people with lots and lots of stones. The colour of the tower also gets lighter and lighter, from red to a kind of yellow. I’d really like to look at the painting through a magnifying glass because I think there’s a lot more to see. And there’s a great and interesting story behind it – about how the tower was built and why we all speak different languages. I don’t believe in God myself, but I think stories from the Bible are really very nice. And there are a lot of paintings of Bible stories in the museum. 

Sergen’s favourite: ‘Double Steel Cage Piece’ by Bruce Nauman

This is my favourite artwork because it involves a task: you have to find a door. You start to look for it and then you think there isn’t a door. But it’s a trick. Because you go through a door to get into the artwork and only then do you look for the door, but you’ve already found it because the door you go through is the door that you have to find.

Did you know that...

The Boijmans Children’s Council meets once a month in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen? The members have met the director Sjarel Ex, visited the museum’s basements, given guided tours and much, much more!

The Boijmans Children's Board with director Sjarel Ex.
The Boijmans Children's Board with director Sjarel Ex.