A couple of metres further along we admire two more sculptures of Ernest Wijnants. They stand in front of the concert hall ‘De Casino’, which is surrounded by the small Casino park, a historic garden which has been in the collective memory of the people of Sint-Niklaas for decades. The park has centuries-old deciduous trees, a kiosk, a water feature and an authentic old small bridge. Being a green lung in the city centre, the park has been reopened for the public together with the reopening of the Casino concert hall.


In this early work ‘Puberteit (Puberty)’, the sculptor tries to represent the simplicity, purity and unsophisticated quality of the young female body. In that aspect, it gives, in comparison with his other works, a distinct vision on female nudes. ‘Puberteit’ was the wedding present of Ernest Wijnants to his good friend, the painter Ernest Albert. Albert in his turn painted a portrait of Ernest Wijnants around 1940.


‘Slavinnetje’ (‘Little slave’), sculpted in 1917, stripped of all clothing evokes more vulnerability than the statues ‘Bacchante’ and ‘Gratie’. As a matter of fact, ‘Slavinnetje’ is part of a larger group of statues ‘De opsmuk der Prinses (The Princess’s finery )’. This group of statues is, as the previous one, private property of the Speth family from Kapellen.


WIJNANTS Ernest (1878-1964)

Biography see 7.

Kunst in de Stad – May 20th 1989