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Artus I Quellin

(d. 1609)

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(bapt. Antwerp, 30 Aug. 1609; d Antwerp, 23 Aug. 1668).

Flemish sculptor, the most distinguished member of a family of artists. He trained in Antwerp with his father, Erasmus I (c.1584–1640). In 1634 he moved to Rome, where he worked in the studio of François Duquesnoy. He was back in Antwerp in 1639, and by 1648 he had moved to Amsterdam, where from c.1650 to 1664 he directed the sumptuous sculptural decoration of the new town hall (now royal palace). His dignified style was singularly appropriate for van Campen's great building, and the decoration forms the most impressive sculptural ensemble of the time in northern Europe. Quellin also produced tomb sculpture and portrait busts. His collaborators at Amsterdam town hall included his cousin, Artus II Quellin (1625–1700), whose independent work was more Baroque in style. The commanding figure of God the Father (1682) adorning the rood screen in Bruges Cathedral is perhaps his finest work. Artus III Quellin (1653–86), usually called Arnold, son of Artus II, settled in England in about 1680. By 1684 he was working with Grinling Gibbons, and the drop in quality of Gibbons's large-scale figure work (not his forte) after Quellin's death indicates that the latter was probably the dominant personality in producing such fine statues as the bronze James II (1686) outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Quellin's outstanding independent work is the tomb of Thomas Thynne (1682, Westminster Abbey), which features a relief of Thynne's murder in his coach in Pall Mall. Other members of the Quellin family included Artus I's two brothers, Erasmus II (1607–78), a painter who often collaborated with Rubens, and Hubert (?1619–87), an engraver who produced numerous prints after works by his relatives.

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