Magazine article USA TODAY

Adriaen De Vries, Imperial Sculptor

Magazine article USA TODAY

Adriaen De Vries, Imperial Sculptor

Article excerpt

One of the major sculptors in the history of European art, Adriaen de Vries (1556-1626), created spectacular bronzes. His pioneering approach foreshadowed the emergence of the artistic period that came to be known as the Baroque Era. De Vries' powerful sense of movement and complex spatial arrangements reveal him as a technical virtuoso who emerged as one of the most progressive Northern European sculptors of his time and a precursor to such modern sculptors as Auguste Rodin.

De Vries produced small-scale and monumental bronzes for the most discerning princely patrons of the period, including the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II of Prague, for whom he became official court sculptor. Among his noted works are individual figures and dynamic groupings that convey the pathos of tales from ancient mythology and dramatic moments of the Old and New Testaments. Monumental allegories that cast the political contests of his day in a universal light, equestrian and other statuettes commissioned for the Emperor's personal delight, and ambitious interpretations of then newly rediscovered marbles from antiquity demonstrate the Dutch artist's virtuosity, from his treatment of flowing musculature to the interplay of light and shadow over tactile surfaces. …

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