The funeral monument to Jan Samijn
The "Westerbergraafplaats" in Ghent has had an eventful history of its origins. Indeed, in the second half of the 19th century, the city council decided that non-Catholics (Protestants, Jews, liberals) could also be buried there, which led to a great deal of resistance from the church authorities at the time. The cemetery was nicknamed "Geuzenkerkhof" (Cemetery of the Beggars).
The cemetery is home to many important figures from Ghent, politicians, artists, etc. Today the cemetery is classified as a heritage monument, because of the many beautiful funeral monuments.
Achilles De Maertelaere has also contributed to several monuments. The most famous is undoubtedly the tomb of Jan Samijn (1869-1933), which he made in 1934 (plain ACKE, row 15, # 7).
Jan Samijn was a highly appreciated trade union leader who defended the rights of the textile workers in Ghent.
The monument depicts an allegory of textile work: a woman who wears a banner and takes a crouching textile worker by the hand. In the foreground is a bronze version of 'De Klok slaat 5 ure!' and in the background a profile of Jan Samijn himself. De Maertelaere is depicted in a photograph while he is working on the model of this monument in his studio.
The work was realized in the bronze foundry Vindevogel, in Zwijnaarde.
Translated with the help of DeepL