Juggling Man

Object Details


Juggling Man


Adriaen de Vries (Dutch, about 1556 - 1626)




Netherlands (Place created)


about 1615




76.8 x 51.8 x 21.9 cm, 33.1126 kg (30 1/4 x 20 3/8 x 8 5/8 in., 73 lb.)

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At a crucial moment in an acrobatic juggling trick, this male figure holds one plate perched precariously on the fingertips of his right hand while another plate, held by centrifugal force, seems suspended. Further complicating the pose, the man looks at the ground and steps on a bellows. Dutch artist Adriaen de Vries based the composition of this bronze statue on a famous Hellenistic marble of a dancing faun, which Michelangelo was believed to have restored while it was in the collection of the Medici in Florence. Although de Vries borrowed the original statue's composition, he replaced the faun's foot organ with a bellows and substituted plates for the faun's cymbals.

This work of artistic virtuosity combines vitality and movement with balance. The strong S-curve on the figure's back demonstrates the complexity of his balancing act. The artist may also have had in mind the German word kunststückemachen, which means both to juggle and, more literally, to make a work of art. The use of a verbal conceit such as this one and the exploration of a figure moving in space are characteristic of the Baroque style.

by 1951

Private Collection (England) [sold, Christie's, London, July 26, 1951, lot 105, to Edward Holroyd Pearce.]

1951 - 1989

Edward Holroyd Pearce, English, 1901 - 1990 (Crowborough, Sussex, England) [sold, Sotheby's, London, December 7, 1989, lot 65, to Cyril Humphris.]

1989 - 1990

Cyril Humphris, S.A., sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1990.

Adriaen de Vries: Imperial Sculptor (December 12, 1998 to January 9, 2000) (32)
  • Rijksmuseum, (Amsterdam), December 12, 1998 to March 14, 1999
  • Nationalmuseum, (Stockholm), April 15 to August 29, 1999
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 12, 1999 to January 9, 2000
Adriaen de Vries (March 11 to June 12, 2000) (32)
  • Maximilian Museum, (Augsburg), March 11 to June 12, 2000
Related Media
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    Audio: Juggling Man