Adriaen de Vries Cain and Abel 1612


Born 1556
Died 1626
Nationality Flemish

Adriaen de Vries was one of the greatest sculptors in bronze of his time, working across Europe and as court sculptor to Emperor Rudolf II in Prague. De Vries was born in The Hague and possibly trained with Willem van Tetrode, the pre-eminent Dutch sculptor, in Delft from about 1568. By 1581 he was a member of Giambologna’s workshop in Florence, then the most prestigious and busiest in Europe. After about five years, De Vries left and worked for various patrons, in places such as Milan, Turin, Prague, Rome, and Augsburg. In 1601 Emperor Rudolf II appointed him court sculptor and De Vries spent the rest of his career in Prague. After Rudolf’s death in 1612, De Vries took commissions from abroad, including from the Danish King Christian IV. He worked almost exclusively in bronze, varying from small individual figures to monumental fountains. Initially his works reflected the international style called Mannerism, with highly wrought figures in dynamic compositions. Only towards the end of his career, his compositions became calmer, more classical, taking inspiration from ancient sculpture he would have seen in Italy and in collections across Europe.