Rape of the Sabines – Giovanni Bologna
Flemish/Italian sculptor(b. ca. 1524, Donai, d. 1608, Firenze)
Rape of the Sabines
Marble, height: 410 cm
Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence
The Rape of the Sabines marked the climax of Giambologna's career as an official Medici sculptor. This great marble was unveiled in the Loggia dei Lanzi in January 1583 in place of Donatello's Judith. The group is indebted to Giambologna's study of Hellenistic sculpture, particularly in the voids which penetrate the three interlocked figures. On a technical level it represents the fullfilment of an aspiration from antiquity. Ancient sources record sculptures made from a single block, a claim which the Renaissance discovered was not true. Giambologna intended to surpass antiquity by sculpting a large group from a single block that also involved a complicated lift. The result is the first sculpture with no principal viewpoints, it forms a spiral that is the culmination of the "figura serpentina".