Super A and Collin van der Sluijs

Mauritshuis Mural on Lonnekerstraat

Collin Van Der Sluijs Super A Mauritshuis Murals Lonnekerstraat Den Haag

The Hague has its first Mauritshuis Mural! Dutch artist duo Stefan Thelen (Super A) & Collin van der Sluijs were inspired by Melchior d’Hondecoeter’s 1680 painting Chickens and Ducks from the Mauritshuis collection. Come and see the mural at number 8 Lonnekerstraat, in the Morgenstond neighbourhood

"As artists we’re always looking for inspiration, and the chance to use the Maurithuis’s fabulous collection was a real honour. We’re proud to have been able to rework a piece from the collection.”

Collin van der Sluijs & Super A

Collin van der Sluijs and Stefan Thelen (Super A) have known each other for around 30 years. A collaboration between two or more artists is not always successful. ‘Many artists have discovered this over the years’, they tell us. ‘You need a certain chemistry.’

Thelen and Van der Sluijs have a seamless connection, and trust each other implicitly. They know precisely what the other brings to the party. ‘I always work out everything in great detail beforehand, and I’m very meticulous in my execution’, says Stefan Thelen. ‘Collin is the only one who is allowed to add anything to my bit, if he thinks it necessary, without consulting me first.’

This strong bond started when Collin van der Sluijs joined Stefan Thelen’s brother’s class at school. “We discovered that we all drew a lot, wanted to express ourselves you might say. We would do that through skating, music, graffiti in the early 1990s and that developed into collabs, trips, international projects, but all still with the same spirit.”

Collin van der Sluijs & Stefan Thelen (Super A) are among the top international street artists. Their collabs can be seen in Berlin, San Francisco, Nijmegen, Louvain, Heerlen and other cities. Collin van der Sluijs is a Dutch artist from Maastricht, where he still lives and works. He has a highly distinctive style, featuring extraordinarily imaginative images of everyday scenes. Super A is the pseudonym of Dutch artist Stefan Thelen from Goes in Zeeland. His work often features hyperrealistic images and fantasy figures, sometimes with a social message.

Collin Van Der Sluijs Super A Mauritshuis Murals Lonnekerstraat Den Haag
Stefan Thelen (Super A) at work on Lonnekerstraat in The Hague

Melchior d'Hondecoeter

The two artists chose Chickens and Ducks by Melchior d'Hondecoeter. They knew which painting they wanted to use as soon as they saw it during the guided tour. Hondecoeter specialised in painting poultry. In this painting the birds are startled by the barking dog that appears on the left. A colourful cockerel struts haughtily away, while the white duck protects her chicks and a pigeon takes off in haste. 

The dynamism in this painting, the vitality and the beautifully rendered feathers ‘painted with such flare’ appealed to the artists. As Thelen and Van der Sluijs explain: "The lighting that Hondecoeter uses brings each individual creature to life. They all have their own personalities, as if they were characters in a film, placed in a certain setting – a landscape in this case."

They have been fans of Hondecoeter's work for years, they say. So studying his work, technique and materials was anything but a chore. “It’s pure skill”, says Collin van der Sluijs. The duo paint mainly with brushes, in tribute to the seventeenth-century master.

Melchior D Hondecoeter Kippen En Eenden 1680 In Mauritshuis Den Haag
Melchior d' Hondecoeter, Chickens and Ducks, 1680

A wall for a canvas

A wall is a canvas for street artists. This wall on Lonnekerstraat measures 272 m2. How do you paint on a wall like that? First you have to apply a primer, a base, so that the paint adheres properly and you get the right colours for your background. All the paint and equipment needed, including mobile elevated work platforms (Riwal), were arranged up front by partner The Hague Street Art (THSA).

Then the artists set to work. Using their design as a guide, they painted layer by layer, to give an impression of depth. While Van der Sluijs painted the foreground, Thelen worked on the background, and vice versa. They would frequently stand back and look at the mural, to ensure they were sticking to the right proportions and scale. Lots of local residents came up to them to ask for a chat.

Though the design provided the basis, there was still room for spontaneity. Several flowers from the nearby flower beds were for example added to the mural. The mural was completed in less than a week, thanks to the experience of the artists, the thorough preparations and the good weather.

Mauritshuis Murals Collin Van Der Sluijs In Maakproces Inspiratie Malchior D Hondecoeter
Collin van der Sluijs and Stefan Thelen (Super A) at work (Lonnekerstraat, The Hague).

Escaping cockerel

You can see the cockerel from Melchior d'Hondecoeter’s painting from a distance, and your curiosity is immediately aroused. What else is there behind those houses? What is all this?

Collin van der Sluijs and Stefan Thelen chose Chickens and Ducks from the Mauritshuis collection as the basis for the mural. They were given complete artistic freedom to transform it into a mural, which could be surprising, moving, raise questions and also prompt debate. 

Collin Van Der Sluijs Super A Detail Mauritshuis Mural Lonnekerstraat Den Haag Home
Mauritshuis Mural by Collin van der Sluijs and Super A on Lonnekerstraat in The Hague

We see a porcelain hare and pheasant. The porcelain lies in pieces on the ground, as a real cockerel that has broken free of the porcelain dashes away. The pheasant is also escaping the porcelain, symbolising regained freedom: breaking out, breaking rules, the ability to be yourself and do what you want. The porcelain (also a product of the seventeenth century) symbolises the tightly controlled and governed society of the time, the strict social rules and patterns of expectation people were expected to observe. The artists create a tension between two worlds: then and now, fake and real, locked away and free.

Collin Van Der Sluijs Super A Mauritshuis Mural Lonnekerstraat Den Haag 2

The Morgenstond neighbourhood

Morgenstond is a post-war neighbourhood built in the 1950s, in the Escamp district. It still includes many of the original apartment buildings from that time. It is close to the city’s lovely Zuiderpark, which in fine weather teems with walkers, cyclists and runners. Locals who have no garden at home love to barbecue there in summer. Leyweg is the main artery running through the neighbourhood, with shops, supermarkets and a shopping centre. The section of Lonnekerstraat where the mural is located runs parallel to Leyweg. Next to the mural is the Catholic Emmauskerk church (of the Parish of the Four Evangelists), a historic building which houses the largest stained-glass artwork in Europe. There is a market on the square around the freestanding belltower every Tuesday.

Hop on your bike, it's time for a tour of The Hague!


The Hague Street Art
The Mauritshuis Murals project is a collaboration between the Mauristhuis and The Hague Street Art (THSA), part of Stichting AIGHT. THSA is Stichting Aight’s platform providing support for everything to do with Street Art in The Hague and the surrounding area. THSA facilitates art in public spaces, professionalising and showcasing young artists in order to prevent vandalism.

ANNA Vastgoed & Cultuur
ANNA put THSA and the Mauritshuis in touch with the owner of the premises and oversaw the negotiations between them. ANNA likes to connect people to bring buildings (some of which are standing empty) back to life, in a way that is appropriate to the building itself and the surrounding area. ANNA devises a concept and then leads the right people and initiatives to the spot in question, forming communities and creative hotspots.


Mauritshuis Murals is sponsored by The Hague City Council, Nationale-Nederlanden and Stichting Droom en Daad.

The Hague City Council is sponsoring the Mauritshuis Murals project, in which artists from the Netherlands and abroad have been invited to enrich several neighbourhoods in The Hague with their murals. As a supporter of emerging talent, The Hague City Council is particularly interested in this aspect of Mauritshuis Murals. 

Nationale-Nederlanden (NN) is the partner and main sponsor of the Mauritshuis, and is also sponsoring the Mauritshuis Murals project. As a supporter of all artistic explorers, NN is keen to get a wider audience interested in art and culture. It also gives artists an opportunity and a platform to inspire others, as a supporter of talent.

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