Silence and The City  /  2019 - 2020

'Inner Space of the Soul' / Oil on linen / 180 x 180 x 4,5 cm
 / 2019 - 2020


Click on button to download the Presentation Book of 'Silence and The City'


Study for series 'Silence and The City' / 2019 / Watercolor, Graphite, Conte on paper


About the series 'Silence and The City'

The series ‘Silence and The City’ is inspired by New York City and the search for contemplation and inner silence in everyday life, about finding meaning in life and the connection of the spiritual world with everyday life. 

Every individual is confronted with a universal question how to find meaning in life. Van de Graaf feels a strong connection with the vibrance of New York City, but is also aware that searching meaning in life is sometimes harder when life is going that fast. The contrast between contemplation and the busy city life of New York City in a normal setting has been a great inspiration for him. He admires the ability of the city to be a melting pot of all kinds of people and really fell in love with the city. With this series he fulfills his wish to devote at last one series on New York.

Van de Graaf draws inspiration from both the time he lived in New York City, 2006 - 2007, and his trip to New York in September 2017 and November 2019. When he was walking in New York City he was struck by moments of silence by different kind of places he documented. This documentation has been the starting point of this series.

The layout of New York City and its historic buildings are a major source of inspiration for the compositions of the paintings. Van de Graaf was struck by the beauty of the contrast between the oldest buildings in New York City, amongst others its churches, and the (modern) high rise buildings next to them. He experienced these silent places in the city like little islands of silence within the busy city life.

Van de Graaf is using several (architectural) metaphors in his paintings to express these themes. An example are the crossroads in the paintings which he uses as a metaphor for important moments in life when the choices of the turns you take determine directions in life. In this series he also introduces the square shaped canvas because all sides are equal and no direction is determined by its shape.


Van de Graaf started this series in September 2019 not knowing the Covid-19 pandemic would change everyday life drastically just a few months later. His heart is with New York City, that the city will be able to heal and recover and continues to be such an inspiration and loving vibration for so many people in this world. 

All images and site content copyright © 2020  Robert van de Graaf   |   All rights reserved