n De Arte - J.H. Pierneef and the Union Buildings : research




In 2010, the Union Buildings, one of the most important landmarks of Pretoria and certainly one of South Africa's finest buildings, are 100 years old. They were erected on Meintjeskop between 1910 and 1913. In more than 70 known artworks depicting Meintjeskop Hill and the construction of the Union Buildings, which he made between 1905 and 1948, the artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef rejected the placement of these buildings on the well-known hill. Pierneef, who considered Meintjeskop to be an important landmark of old Republican Pretoria, regularly used it as subject matter for his experiments with a variety of artistic styles, in an attempt to find the most appropriate style with which to capture the typical atmosphere, light conditions and structural peculiarities of this well-known Pretoria landmark. This article attempts to show that Pierneef's lifelong obsession with Meintjeskop was not only a deliberate attempt to use the landmark to develop his own typical artistic style, but also to reflect his ideological stance with regard to the Union Buildings as a symbol of British Imperialism in South Africa.


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