While Cellini promotes an uncompromising modernism, van Tetrode is familiar with antique statues which he frequently works to restore.
His time marks a new curiosity about the mechanisms of the human body. Leonardo's studies had opened this path in art, in a search for more realistic attitudes. Vesalius, the founder of scientific anatomy, and Giambologna, the sculptor of the human body in motion, were also among the protégés of Cosimo I.
Sculptures by van Tetrode display an extreme tension of male bodies in various attitudes that exacerbate muscles, under or without skin. His influence will be considerable, particularly on de Vries and Goltzius.
On January 27 in New York, Christie's sells two bronzes by Willem van Tetrode estimated $ 1.5 million each.
At Lot 52, Hercules with his club symbolizes the heroic strength, very steady on his long legs, with a serene face. This bronze is 39 cm high.
At Lot 71, an écorché (skinned) man is in a dance position at the extreme limits of balance. This bronze is 44 cm high.