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Adriaen de Vries won international fame for active bronze figures that reflect both his study of nature and his training in Florence with Giovanni Bologna, the greatest 16th-century sculptor after Michelangelo. De Vries's complicated poses continued the style known as mannerism, but he also saw ancient bronze sculpture as a model to surpass. He devised this group for Emperor Rudolph II, who had appointed him court sculptor in Prague in 1601. The figures were cast in one pour, a feat the emperor, fascinated with transformations in metal and other materials, would have appreciated. De Vries gave psychological force to this allegory through the rippling tension of the figures and the gaze that passes between them.


on base: ADRIANUS FRIES FE 1610


Peter A.B. Widener [1834-1915], Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; gift 1942 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Prag um 1600: Kunst und Kultur am Hofe Rudolps II, Kulturstiftung Ruhr, Villa Hügel, Essen-Bredeney, Federal Republic of Germany; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria, 1988, no. 60, repro.
Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art 1580-1620, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1993-1994, no. 182, repro., as Allegory of the Triumph of Virtue over Vice.
Rudolf II and Prague: The Imperial Court and Residential City as the Cultural and Spiritual Heart of Central Europe, Prague Castle Picture Gallery, 1997, no. I.129.
Adriaen de Vries (1556-1626), imperial sculptor, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Nationalmuseum, Stockholm; J. Paul Getty Mus., Los Angeles, 1998-2000, no. 24, repro., as Allegory of Imperium triumphant over Avaritia (shown only in Stockholm and Los Angeles)
L'Europe de Rubens, Musée du Louvre-Lens, 2013, no. 140, repro.


Works of Art from the Widener Collection. Foreword by David Finley and John Walker. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 9, as Virtue and Vice.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Widener Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1948 (reprinted 1959): 157, repro., as Virtue and Vice.
Seymour, Charles. Masterpieces of Sculpture from the National Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1949: 182, note 48, repro. 147, 149-151, as Virtue and Vice.
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): pl. 54.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 173, as Virtue and Vice.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 153, repro., as Virtue and Vice.
Seymour, Charles, Jr. "The Mercury in the Rotunda of the National Gallery of Art." Studies in the History of Art (1968-69):1-25, repro.
Kaufmann, Thomas Dacosta. "Empire Triumphant: Notes on an Imperial Allegory by Adriaen de Vries." Studies in the History of Art vol. 8 (1978):63-75, repro.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 639, no. 1004, repro.
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 296, repro.
Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994: 235, repro.
National Gallery of Art Special Issue. Connaissance des Arts. Paris, 2000: repro. 58, 59, 61.

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