280 x 210 mm
xiv, 508 pages
382 figures in colour and b/w
Three-page foldout with the frieze in full colour
From Memory to Marble: The Historical Frieze of the Voortrekker Monument, Part I: The Frieze
By Elizabeth Rankin and Rolf Michael Schneider
The Voortrekker Monumentality digital archive hosted by Stanford University Libraries is based on the eight-hundred-and-four illustrations from the two-volume book From Memory to Marble: The historical frieze of the Voortrekker Monument. It includes not only images of the monument and the frieze but also many related documents and artworks. The corpus aims to promote studies of controversial monuments, with a focus on visual interpretation.
For the first time the 92-metre frieze of the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, one of the largest historical narratives in marble, has been made the subject of a book.
The pictorial narrative of the Boer pioneers who conquered South Africa’s interior during the ‘Great Trek’ (1835-52) represents a crucial period of South Africa’s past. Forming the concept of the frieze both reflected on and contributed to the country’s socio-political debates in the 1930s and 1940s when it was made. The frieze is unique in that it provides rare evidence of the complex processes followed in creating a major monument.
Based on unpublished documents, drawings and models, these processes are unfolded step by step, from the earliest discussions of the purpose and content of the frieze through all the stages of its design to its shipping to post-war Italy to be copied into marble and final installation in the Monument. The book examines how visual representation transforms historical memory in what it chooses to recount, and the forms in which it depicts this. It also investigates the active role the Monument played in the development of apartheid, and its place in post-apartheid heritage.
The second volume (Part II) expands on the first, considering each of the 27 scenes in depth, providing new insights into not only the frieze, but also South Africa’s history.
Co-published with De Gruyter, Berlin.
“This is interdisciplinary research at its best: an art-historical approach with emphasis on historical documentation, on interpretation of narrative and style and an archaeological approach to the artifact itself, its material quality and technical execution, as a point of departure for appreciating every aspect of the process of transforming the raw material of marble into memory. The book is beautifully produced with excellent new photographs by Russell Scott as well as diagrams of the distribution of the panels in the Hall of Heroes and fold-out illustrations of the frieze in its entirety.” Jane Fejfer in: The Burlington Magazine, Nov. 2021, 1087-1088.