Adriaen de Vries (Netherlandish, ca. 1545–1626)
H. 18 5/8 in. (47.3 cm)
Bequest of George Blumenthal, 1941 (41.190.534)
Apollo, one of the dozen gods of Olympus, can be identified as a patron of archery by his attribute, a quiver filled with arrows, here lying on the ground. He is shown in action, with one arm raised as if he had just shot an arrow from a bow. In Renaissance humanism, allegorical imagery associated Apollo with the personification of the classical Greek spirit, standing for the civilized and rational side of human nature. Portrayed as a naked youth, he represents the ideal form of male physical beauty.
This captivating bronze statuette by Adriaen de Vries (1545/461626), one of the most gifted and important sculptors at the court of Rudolf II, transforms the well-known image of the Apollo Belvederean ancient Roman copy of a lost Hellenistic bronze excavated in Rome in the fifteenth centuryinto a characteristic Mannerist sculptural variation that is full of movement, so-called figura serpentinata. The sculptor's great ability to suggest motion through a motionless object sparked the viewer's desire to turn such figures around and admire them from all sides.