Adriaen de Vries
1556-1626 | DutchLaocoön and His Sons
A remarkable feat of artistry and skill, this bronze sculpture was created by famed Dutch artist Adriaen de Vries. Full of the swelling emotions and dramatic posing so quintessential to the period, the bronze is a masterclass in Baroque sculpture.
The original Laocoön
marble sculpture, after which this remarkable bronze was modeled, unquestionably influenced the lives and works of countless artists, authors, popes, kings and emperors since its re-discovery in 1506. Famously, Michelangelo declared the sculpture, created circa 35 BC, as the “greatest piece of art in the world.” Adriaen de Vries, an apprentice of the great sculptor Giambologna, undoubtedly sought to prove his skill and creative voice with his own depiction of this most famous scene. Known for his virtuosic casting technique, this rare and important sculpture embodies de Vries’ mastery.
The story of Laocoön is one of the most famous in all of literature. As told by the poet Virgil, the Greeks, after an unsuccessful ten-year siege on the city of Troy, the Greeks craftily left a giant wooden horse outside the gates of the city with a small contingency hidden inside. A cunning Greek soldier named Sinon was left to offer an explanation of this unusual gift. Laocoön, the Trojan high priest who questioned Sinon, was not persuaded and proclaimed the warning, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!” The Goddess Minerva, eager to protect her Greeks, immediately sent two sea serpents to kill Laocoön and his twin sons before they could warn more Trojans of this deception. Beautifully crafted, this present bronze displays all of the dynamic artistry and poignant expression for which the original is so celebrated.
Coveted by the world’s most important museums, sculptures by de Vries can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and many royal collections across Europe. Needless to state, examples only rarely come to market. The only other known Laocoön
sculpture by de Vries is part of the permanent collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University
is considered by many experts to be the greatest sculpture depicting movement ever crafted, making this rare 16th-century example an awe-inspiring treasure.
On base: 5 3/8" high by 5" wide by 2 5/8" deep