Rijksmuseum acquires De Vries sculpture

Adriaen de Vries Atlas

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam finally bought a sculpture by Adriaen de Vries. It was a century-old wish and now the museum saw its chance on a Christie’s auction in New York. It is a rare occasion to have a De Vries sculpture on the market and the museum had to spend a record number of € 22,5 million to have its wish come true. But soon Atlas will be the first of De Vries’ statues in the Netherlands. 

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Adriaen de Vries was a Dutch sculptor living from 1556 until 1626. As was common in the 17th century, gifted sculptors like De Vries were often hired by courts around Europe. That is how he ended up first in the Habsburg Empire and then in Italy. He would never craft one sculpture in his country by birth. This does not withhold us from celebrating the artist as a Dutch master.

Until recently, De Vries was largely unknown by art appreciators. Honestly, had you heard of him yet? He was famed in the 17th century, admired for his skill. And when the Rijksmuseum organized a well visited exhibition about his work in 1998 he acclaimed wider acceptation in the landscape of art. His detailed sculptures are out of this world and break with the tradition of static figures. His works are dynamic and look like they could come to life at anytime. De Vries is now even openly compared with the world famous master Michelangelo. Wow, that will draw me back to the Rijksmuseum!

The museum expects to have the bronze masterpiece in Amsterdam at the beginning of 2015. It is the first life size sculpture by De Vries in the country. It took more money than the museum had to spend to get it here but it was an unquestioned issue that this piece should shimmer here in the artists’ country of birth.

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