Installation | 26-03-2023

Bibi Smit’s latest sculpture at Mauritshuis Museum

A large sculpture by Bibi Smit, called ‘Whirl of Life’, has been installed at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Netherlands. It was commissioned to celebrate the museum’s 200th anniversary.

It comprises two organic spirals that reach towards each other at the centre. The upper spiral moves from outwards to inwards and the lower flows in the opposite direction. Suspended from the ceiling at eight points, the work appears to be floating in space, requiring the audience to look up and move around.The artwork embodies the soft, strong and fluid characteristic of hot glass.

The installation features blossoms and leaves, which, Bibi says, radiate the energy of nature’s circularity and the transience of time.

“In nature, wilting is considered to be a sign of the plants’ circle of life towards the end. Here it is transformed into the central element and acquires a newfound beauty in all its possibilities. The petals are just past their prime, becoming translucent, and, as they fall off and curl up, they become alluring,” she explains.

The work draws inspiration from 17th century flower paintings and contains humorous elements, such as hidden creatures.

The sculpture was commissioned by the Friends of the Mauritshuis.

The museum is known for being the home to the painting ‘Girl with Pearl Earring’, by the artist Vermeer.

The sculpture is on permanent show in the exhibition hall following its installation in February 2023.

The Mauritshuis Museum is at: Plein 29, 2511 CS Den Haag, The Netherlands. Website:

‘Whirl of Life’ hangs in the museum’s exhibition hall and can be viewed from different floors, giving the viewer a new perspective on the work. Photo: Annemarie Sabelis.

Top image: Detail of ‘Whirl of Life’. Photo: Annemarie Sabelis.

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