Home Culture These Cities May Look Familiar, But They’re Something Else Entirely

These Cities May Look Familiar, But They’re Something Else Entirely

When you look at the drawings in Stefan Bleekrode”s Cityscapes collection, you might find that some of the highly detailed, technical-looking images of cities look familiar. Maybe you”ve even visited these places. Thanks to the monuments, apartment buildings, and layout of the streets, you probably know what city you”re looking at, or at least what country. But…where exactly are you? Things get even weirder if you know the city intimately. That”s not where that road is, you think to yourself. Suddenly, you realize your points of reference are totally wrong if they even existed at all. This is exactly what Bleekrode is going for.

Despite their precision and realism, Cityscapes are not accurate representations of the cities. Instead of simply rendering what he sees, Bleekrode takes in the scenery and then creates his drawings from memory. The result is an impression of the city and region, an imaginary city with all the characteristics of the real one. In this way, the images are less about their technical prowess (although it”s certainly impressive) and more about the way places leave distinct, often inaccurate impressions on our memories. Despite the inaccuracies, we may feel we recognize these cities based on their architecture, layout, and natural landscapes.

Buenos Aires

<i>Buenos Aires</i>

“Impression from memory of the Avenida de 9. Julio, the widest avenue in the world in Buenos Aires.”

Paris, Left Bank

<i>Paris, Left Bank</i>

Though it captures the quaintness of the Left Bank, this scene is completely imaginary.

City at the Foot of the Mountains

<i>City at the Foot of the Mountains</i>

This imaginary city was inspired by cities in Central and Eastern Europe.

Trams in Prague

<i>Trams in Prague</i>

Based off Prague”s old town area.

Spacca Napoli

<i>Spacca Napoli</i>

The center of Naples is known as Spacca Napoli, or “split Naples,” due to the Via dei Tribunali that bisects the city. Bleekrode concentrated on the old buildings, but included more modern buildings in the background, as well as Mt. Vesuvius.

City in Belgium

<i>City in Belgium</i>

This imaginary city is based on both Bruges and Ghent.

Washington Square

<i>Washington Square</i>

The park in Manhattan was also altered thanks to Bleekrode”s memory.

City in Ireland

<i>City in Ireland</i>

This “city” incorporates elements of Cork, Dublin, and Belfast.

City in Holland

<i>City in Holland</i>

This city is completely made up, but takes enough elements of typical Dutch cities that it”s recognizable.

Canal in Amsterdam

<i>Canal in Amsterdam</i>

Though it”s meant to be in a real city, this scene is also completely created by Bleekrode.

A self-taught artist, Netherlands-based Bleekrode has created imaginary cities since he was a child. “Nowadays, I create my own world class cities comparable to Paris or London,” he says. “In the latter, I also find most of the inspiration for my paintings.” He also paints colorful, egg tempera pieces that show smaller, “on the ground” snapshots of daily life, but with the same filter of memory and impression. You can find more of his work on his website.