If you've seen pictures of eighteenth and nineteenth century European crystal chandeliers, the word "chandelier" itself may immediately draw them to mind. The wide skirts, often in layers, with dazzling sparkle, light reflecting off of every crystal facet... They were grandiose and announced to castle or mansion visitors that rich people lived there.
Hans van Bentem, using fine Bavarian crystal and cutting techniques learned from generations of crystal makers, creates grandiose chandeliers for private and corporate clients, but van Bentem's works don't have the look or feel of their wide-skirted predecessors. They just may plant some new images of "chandeliers" in your mind.
1. The Lion
Created for the 2007 cercle DELUXE in Vienna, an extremely select audience of business persons, The Lion is part of the Rock and Royal display on exhibit. The wall mosaics surrounding the Lion are the works of Arno Coenen, a mosaic artist, also represented by Rock and Royal.
For grand exhibitions in large deep staircase areas, van Bentem has created chandelier chains, such as the one shown below for the recently christened MS Eurodam of the Holland America cruise ship line. On the MS Eurodam, two chain chandeliers hang through the center of winding staircases through several levels of the theatre. The individual chandeliers represent different aspects of the theatre: the curtain (with a bow as the top chandelier and a tassle as the bottom chandelier), a theatre mask, a lute, and a lyre.
A few individual chandeliers included in the chains on the MS Eurodam are shown below.
2. Lyre Chandelier
3. Lute Chandelier
4. Mask Chandelier
This next grouping is from the Escher Museum in The Hague, located at the Paleis Lange Voorhout. Here van Betem was commissioned to produce 15 chandeliers, and he did so in surreal style to complement the style of M.C. Escher.
5. Globe Chandelier
6. Violin Chandelier
7. Human Chandelier
8. Artist's Pallette Chandelier
9. Pipe Chandelier
10. Bible Chandelier
11. Spider Chandelier
12. Virus Chandelier
13. Seahorse Chandelier
On his own, van Betem has created chandeliers on the edge of what a public insitution or large corporation might commission, but they're perfect for individual admirers.
14. M-16 Chandelier
15. Dick Chandelier
Hans van Betem is obviously a prolific artist, having produced not only the chandeliers shown here, but many more equally magnificent crystal chandeliers. And crystal is not his only medium! (But that's for another column.) If you would like to see more of van Betem's work, visit Rock and Royal.
And if you need to ask how much a van Betem chandelier might cost... the price is not "on the menu."
Photographs used in this column are copyright Rock and Royal and were used with its permission. They may not be re-published without the permission of Rock and Royal.