When you enter the grounds of the Peace Palace don’t forget to look up at the symbolic statues, standing as guards in the niches of the building. The Dutch architect of the Peace Palace, J.A.G. van der Steur, assigned eleven different artists to design these seventeen decorative statues.
Artists as Toon Dupuis, Fré Jeltsema, Louis Vreugde, Arend Odé, Pier Pander and Wim Retera were asked to first design a model in plaster. Once this model was accepted a fee of 1500 guilders was given to the artists together with a large piece of Oberkirchner sandstone to produce their symbolic statue. The allegorical statues represent for example Wisdom, Eloquence and Courage but also of Justice, Commerce and Agriculture.
Wim Retera (1858-1930) was assigned to sculpt the most prominent statue placed above the main entrance of the Peace Palace, Pax. Retera designed a decorative statue of a crowned woman holding a sword in its scabbard (symbol of peace). The statue Pax was made of grès, a fine building material that was produced by the famous Delft factory ‘The Porceleyne Fles ‘. This historical photo of the plaster model of ‘Pax’ was made in the work shop of Willem Retera in Amsterdam.