Karel Zijlstra

Other human beings have always been on  this world; this fact intrigued Karel Zijlstra  since his childhood.  In thousands of years men and women developed from bestial creatures to spiritual human beings.

Lack of specific knowledge  made  them believe in gods and miracles; life was explained and made bearable by storytelling.  People joined in secret , associations  searching the truth behind  the harsh reality, preached by king and clergy.

Human evolution is the leading motive in Zijlistra’s work.

He was inspired by the Celts who came from eastern Europe through Holland, Scandanavia and England to Ireland. Like the upright Celtic dancer, Zijlistra’s statues reach out for elevation and spiritualization. His  figures show no feet, they rize out of the misty Irish land like thin Gods. Their spirituality makes them almost unassailable.

These slender, introverted figures are often compared with Masai warriors or Egyptian gods.  Rightly, according to the artist. Because his quest for origin, genesis and future of mankind is universal and embraces all people and all cultures.

Karel Zijlistra studied at the Academy of Industrial Design in Eindhoven. Since 1989 he applied himself completely to sculpting.  In this period he discovered Celtic and mediaeval literature. Till today the King Arthur legends,  the Holy Grail and Percival and the Irish myths and legends inspire his seemingly weightless bronze  figures.


Zijlistra’s bronzes are modelled in wax and then cast in bronze in the lost wax method (cire- perdue).

Exhibitions in: Holland, Belgium, Germany,  France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Russia and USA.

View Karel Zijlstra Portfolio