Mercury and Psyche by Adriaen de Vries

Mercury and Psyche by Adriaen de Vries
Mercury and Psyche by Adriaen de Vries
Anonim

Sometimes it can be thought that mannerist art only had an important development in Italy. However, this was not the case, and its influence reached many places in Europe. Such as the city of Prague where the Austrian Emperor Rudolf II ruled.

Today's Prague was declared the capital of the Holy Germanic Empire in the year 1583 and the emperor moved there. Rudolf II of Habsburg (1552 – 1612) was a real fan of art. To begin with, he was a great collector of all kinds of objects, especially some very rare and fabulous ones, as well as he loved the most refined goldsmithing. But in addition, he became an important patron, in this way his court would become a hive of creation in different artistic disciplines, which had an international character since artists from all over the continent attended there.

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Mercury and Psyche by Adriaen de Vries

Among them came the sculptor Adriaen de Vries (1556 – 1626), of Flemish origin but who ended up spending his last years in Prague, and even died there. But before coming to the imperial court he had spent a few years in Italy, where he worked alongside one of the greatest sculptors of Mannerist art: Giambologna, author of works of enormous category such as the Rapture of the Sabine Women or his particular vision of Mercury, the messenger ofthe gods.

And the truth is that Giambologna's influence on the work of de Vries is absolutely undeniable. Something that can be clearly seen in this work of Mercury and Psyche, that although he made it in Prague for the emperor in the year 1593, this bronze is currently exhibited in theParis Louvre Museum.

It is a work loaded with sensuality, just look at Mercury's erotic arm grabbing Psyche's leg. But it is by no means the result of improvisation. Everything in it is well studied. All the movement of the bodies, based on two bodies facing each other, which are going to join in an embrace almost captured on the fly. It is a sculpture where all forms evoke a sense of elegance, something that is based on its slenderness and elongation, which is a trend in both painting and sculpture of Mannerism. A style that had a canon of beauty that had grown enormously compared to the most harmonic figures of the Renaissance.

In a way, de Vries's sculptures can be considered the zenith of this trend full of elegance and virtuosity. And within the entire career of this itinerant artist, the bronze of Mercury and Psyche, with his monumental character, is one of his great masterpieces.

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