DUQUESNOY, François
(b. 1597, Bruxelles, d. 1643, Livorno)

Biography

Flemish sculptor, active mainly in Roma where he settled in 1618. He was a friend of Poussin. sharing a house with him for some time, and became a leading figure in circle devoted to classical art. Alongside Algardi he came to be recognized as the outstanding sculptor in Rome after the great Bernini (who employed him on the decoration of the Baldacchino in St Peter's in 1627-8). and as with Algardi, his style was much more restrained and less Baroque than Bernini's.

Duquesnoy's two major works are the statues of Sta Susanna (Sta Maria di Loreto, 1629-33) and St Andrew (St Peter's, 1629-40). He also produced many small bronzes that spread his fame, Duquesnoy was particularly renowned for his handling of putti, and it is curious that someone who so unaffectedly depicted the beauty and charm of children seems to have been mentally unstable; he was a chronic procrastinator and the diarist John Evelyn, visiting Rome in 1644, said that he 'died mad' because his St Andrew 'was placed in a bad light'.

Duquesnoy's father and brother were sculptors; Jérôme the Elder (c. 1570-1641) and Jérôme the Younger (1602-1654). His father is remembered mainly for the famous Manneken pis fountain (1619) behind the town hall in Brussels. His brother worked with Francois in Rome and took a somewhat diluted Baroque style back to Flanders with him. The tomb of Bishop Antonius Triest in Ghent Cathedral (c. 1651) is considered his finest work. He is perhaps best remembered, however, for his sticky end; he was executed by strangulation in Ghent for committing sodomy in a church.