De Zwaan (the Swan, or Graceful Bird)

Michelle Curry's avatar Michelle Curry

The painting has a quiet, wistful beauty and grace like her namesake, “De Zwaan” means "The Swan, or Graceful Bird.” I was impressed with the beauty of the early spring landscape, with the leaves just budding out. The new life is beginning to grow amid the old bracken along the water’s edge. The beautiful road runs parallel to the road that leads to the windmill. There are places along the road to rest and enjoy, encouraging us to slow down and enjoy our journey. There are choices...the common path, or the path less traveled ahead...a metaphor for life. I was impressed by the quiet strength of the windmill, standing proudly in the background, her reflection in the water, reflecting a blue sky. The pleasant view belies it’s history, which further inspired me to want to make a painting of it. De Zwaan windmill was first built in the Netherlands in 1761, and during WWII, many were destroyed by the Nazis when they invaded, as an attempt to destroy Dutch culture, and sustainable industry. Of the approximate 9,000 windmills, all but 900 were left. De Zwaan sustained damage during the war, as well as serving as a hiding place at that time. In the 1960’s, the badly damaged windmill was the last windmill allowed to leave the Netherlands, to come to Holland, MI to be rebuilt. It was repaired and continues to grind flour to this day. It is the only authentic windmill in the United States. The American Flag flies at the top of it. Both are symbols of American Dutch heritage and history, of which I am a part.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth: 2/3 inch
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Width: 36 inches
  • Year created: 2017
  • Height: 24 inches