2018 – The Quellinus sculptors in 17th-century Europe

The Quellinus sculptors in 17th-century Europe: artistic styles, professional network and clients.

The Foundation is supporting Wendy Frère’s research for her doctoral thesis (Université Libre de Bruxelles) under the supervision of Didier Martens. It focuses on the place of the Quellinus sculptors in the history of baroque sculpture in the former Southern Netherlands and the impact of family networks in Europe.

Project description

After leaving the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, the Quellinus settled in Antwerp in 1606 where they developed a flourishing studio and soon became one of the most influential families of Baroque art in Antwerp. With no fewer than ten artists (painters, sculptors, engravers), the family members started to practice their craft outside the city, so that before long the name Quellinus reached beyond the borders of the southern Netherlands. This apogee period of the Quellinus dynasty may have started with Artus the Elder (1609-1668), the core person of this family whose members maintained key relations with several European countries.

Wendy Frère’s choice to study the contacts within and without the family makes it possible to assess the means by and the extent to which the name Quellinus dominated Europe as a true brand. The main connections that the family established at various moments in their careers, and which later had a positive impact on these careers, need to be identified. These connections are not solely the result of relations between artists; they are also that of relations with influential individuals of various faiths.

Over the first two years of her fellowship (2018-2019 and 2019-2020), Wendy Frère visited, for various lengths of time, Germany, England, Denmark, France, Italy and the Netherlands in order to study and see first-hand as many Quellinus artworks as possible, to compare the local production with that of the Quellinus and to consult the literature – often inaccessible in Belgium – associated with the works and the sculptors in their country of adoption.

Wendy Frère is currently continuing to photograph artworks and to consult archives: property inventories, contracts and letters are the main documents taken into account in this study and shed light on the commissions received.

Parallel to her research, Wendy Frère is doing a thorough investigation into the sources and literature with an aim to compile an inventory based on a most comprehensive survey of all the works by the Quellinus sculptors. The multipurpose of this inventory – a valuable work tool – is, on the one hand, to provide an overall vision of the Quellinus production and, on the other hand, to facilitate comparisons between the different productions within the family.

Publications List
Conference Papers
  • Wendy Frère, “The Italian slave’s pattern in the work of the Quellinus: integration and diffusion”, presented at: Going South – Artistic Exchange between the Netherlands and Italy in the Early Modern Period, 12 December 2019, The Hague.
  • Wendy Frère, “A Quellinus in Scandinavia: Thomas Quellinus (1661 – 1709) and his artistic production in Denmark”, presented at: Migration of artists and architects in Central and Northern Europe (1560 – 1900), 26-28 September 2019, Riga.
  • Wendy Frère, “Les sculpteurs Quellinus dans l’Europe du XVIIe siècle”, presented at: Journée doctorale, 20 September 2019, Louvain-la-Neuve.
  • Wendy Frère, “La polychromie dans la sculpture baroque: les Pays-Bas méridionaux et la Principauté de Liège”, presented at: Iberian polychromed sculpture, 07 décembre 2018, Louvain-la-Neuve.
  • Wendy Frère, “La relation fraternelle et professionnelle entre Artus l’Ancien et Erasmus le Jeune: un échange artistique”, presented at: ‘Een model daeraf alreede gemaeckt’ – De Quellinusdynastie als artistiek ontwerp- en aannemersbedrijf in 17de-eeuws Antwerpen, 15 March 2018, Antwerp.
  • Wendy Frère, “‘Il se rendit à Rome’, séjour et réseau professionnel du sculpteur Artus Quellinus l’Ancien (1609-1668) dans la Cité éternelle: une première ouverture sur l’Europe”, presented at: Faire carrière en Italie: les artistes étrangers à Rome et à Venise au temps de Nicolas Régnier (ca 1610-1667), 22-23 February 2018, Nantes.

Articles in Academic Journals

  • Wendy FRERE, « Artus Quellinus l’Ancien et Erasmus le Jeune : un échange artistique », In Annales d’Histoire de l’Art et d’Archéologie. Université Libre de Bruxelles, 40, 2018, pp. 111-136.
  • Wendy FRERE, « Jan Van Delen (ca. 1635 – 1703) », In Bulletin de la Société royale d’Archéologie de Bruxelles, 74, 2016-2017, pp. 121-157.
  • Wendy FRERE, « Jan Van Delen (ca. 1635 – 1703), sculpteur méconnu », In Bulletin de l’IRPA, 34 (2013- 2015), 2016, pp. 283-287.



  • Wendy FRERE, « À la lumière de Rome : Flamands et Italiens, un échange culturel », In Revue belge de Philologie et d’Histoire, 2, 2018, pp. 1015-1027.

Research projects – catalogue entries

  • Wendy FRERE, 4 entries – Artus Quellinus l’Ancien au Rijksmuseum, online catalogue (forthc.)
  • Wendy FRERE, 5 entries – Artus Quellinus l’Ancien au KMSKA, online catalogue (forthc.)
  • Wendy FRERE, 30 entries for the online catalogue Inventaire de peintures et sculptures saisies en Belgique et envoyées en France à l’époque révolutionnaires (1794-1795), 2018 – (http://balat.kikirpa.be/tools/saisies/indexfr.html).


Illustration: Artus I Quellinus, Potrait of Andries de Graeff, 1661, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.