VRIES, Adriaen de
(b. ca. 1556, The Hague, d. 1626, Prague)
Adriaen de Vries' career epitomizes the internationalism of the late Mannerist period. He was born in The Hague, trained in Italy, and worked mainly in Prague. His is the time-honored tradition of the itinerant artist, working for many of Europe's most discerning royal patrons. Little is known about de Vries until 1581, when he was an assistant in Giambologna's Florentine workshop. There he trained as a bronzeworker and absorbed much of Giambologna's sophisticated Mannerist style.
De Vries' association with Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, whose rare works of art were the greatest collection of the age, began in 1593. He became court sculptor in 1601. Among de Vries' works for the reclusive monarch was a bronze relief representing Rudolf II's 1585 imperial decree that painting should be considered among the liberal arts. The idea that visual artists should be raised above the level of craftsmen developed during the Italian Renaissance, but Rudolf II made it official. After Rudolf II's death in 1612, de Vries continued working for aristocratic clients, creating numerous funerary monuments, life-size sculptures, fountains, and church fonts. In his late style, he worked the bronze to create a soft, sketchy effect.