The Flemish artist JérÃ´me Duquesnoy was, in his day, regarded as one of the finest sculptors of the seventeenth century. In 1644, Duquesnoy was commissioned to create statues for the nave of the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels, and the following year he was appointed “architecte, statuaire et sculpteur de la Cour” to Archduke Leopold William, Regent of the Netherlands. it was during the time where he produced some of his most famous works, many of which depicted strong, muscled male figures in the Hellenic tradition.
In 1651, he became Court Architect and Sculptor, and in 1654 he went to Ghent to fulfill several commissions.
In 1654 Duquesnoy to complete the tomb monument of Antonius Triest. He was arrested for sexually abusing two boys of his young apprentices and tried for sodomy. Appeals by his friends to the court in Brussels to transfer jurisdiction over the case from the local court in Ghent to the Royal Magistrate in Brussels were unsuccessful.
The Privy Council of Ghent convicted Duquesnoy of sodomy and sentenced him to death. He was bound to a stake in the Grain Market in the center of the city, strangled, and his body reduced to ashes. His reputation was destroyed and his memory repressed. It has only been recently that critical attention has returned to his work.
Source: Box Turtle Bulletin