Data sheet

  • Author: Giambologna
  • Date: 1582
  • Collection: SCULPTURE
  • Technique: Shaped terracruda
  • Dimensions: h. 410 cm.
  • Inventory: Inv. Scult. N. 1071


Displayed in the middle of the Sala del Colosso, we find the large model for the famous marble group by the Flemish sculptor Jean de Boulogne, which was made between 1579 and 1580 without a commission and with no specific iconographic subject. Wishing to establish himself on the Florentine scene, the sculptor set out to prove his technical skill through the arrangement of three dynamic figures balanced in a serpentine movement and conceived to be seen from multiple points of view. Once translated into marble, the sculpture won the admiration of the grand duke Francesco I, who gave it a prominent position in the prestigious Loggia dei Lanzi, moving Donatello’s Judith and making Giambologna’s work a pendant for Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus. The scholar Vincenzo Borghini was the one who proposed the name Rape of the Sabine Women, inspired by the famous episode of Roman history.

The preparatory version at the Accademia is an extreme rarity, since only a handful of life-size 16th-century models have come down to us intact, in part due to the fragility of the material used: unfired clay allowed to dry slowly over time, often mixed with baked flour and straw, as suggested by Vasari




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