Among the Rijksmuseum’s earliest Western bronze sculptures are two recumbent lions with coats of arms from circa 1350 that originally supported a baptismal font. The approximately 200 works from the period after the Middle Ages include some small Renaissance sculptures from Italy, the cradle of small-scale bronze sculpture. A particularly fine example is the perfume burner with mythological figures by Desiderio da Firenze. Produced in Flanders is the exceptional set of (pleurants) (weepers), tomb figures that once graced the tomb of Isabella of Bourbon.
An important core consists of bronzes by the fiamminghi – artists from the Netherlands working in the Italian Mannerist style at the end of the 16th century. With their contorted and muscular bodies, the fascinating statues by Adriaen de Vries, Willem van Tetrode, Johan Gregor van der Schardt and Giambologna are interesting from all angles.
Dating from the Baroque is the animated Hercules Freeing Prometheus by the French sculptor François Lespingola.