QUELLINUS, Artus II
(b. 1625, Sint-Truiden, d. 1700, Antwerpen)
Virgin of the Immaculate Conception1690s
White and black marble, height 112 cm
O.-L. Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp
The Virgin stands on a crescent moon, supported by two cherubs' heads. The Virgin and Child trample the serpent, the symbol of Evil. The fact that Jesus is shown standing next to her rather than in his mother's arms in the customary manner, makes the action more dynamic and reinforces the idea that Christ himself is destroying sin.
The theme of Mary and Jesus crushing Evil was very popular in the Counter-Reformation - the period that followed the religious troubles of the 16th century. Catholicism prevailed in the Southern Netherlands over the 'heresy' of Protestantism. Its victory was expressed in triumphalist images like this one.
This graceful marble statue is the work of Artus Quellinus the Younger, whose refined and elegant art fell somewhere between high Baroque and Rococo.