Hendrick de Keyser probably based his bronze sculpture of Erasmus on portrait paintings and drawings made during Erasmus’ lifetime, including those by Hans Holbein the Younger. These portraits show Erasmus wearing a coat with fur cuffs and collar and a characteristic cap on his head. He is frequently shown with a serious expression, either reading or with his hands on a thick book. All these elements can be found in the sculpture of the humanist in Rotterdam.
The bronze sculpture is larger than life-size and towers
above the viewer because of its two-metre high plinth. His flowing robes
suggest that he is walking forwards. His left hand supports the large book he
is reading; he turns the page with his right hand.
When it was first unveiled in 1622 the sculpture had a high sheen. In the course of the centuries the bronze has oxidised and various treatments have meant that at different times the sculpture’s appearance has varied from bright green to a deep black.
|nicknames||Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus|
|location since||1964, Grotekerkplein, wijk, city center|
|dimensions sculpture (hxwxl) in cm||223 x 100 x 138|