Giambologna‘s sculpture "Rape of Sabin women"

11 January 2019

In the Loggia dei Lanzi on Piazza della Signoria in Florence, there is another Renaissance treasure: “The Rape of the Sabin women” a marble sculpture by Giambologna. The sculpture commissioned by Francesco 1 de Medici and made from 1581 to 1582, is the third masterpiece of Giambologna. It is illustrating the mythological story of the Romans seizing the Sabine women and taking them for their wives. On the sculpture can be seen three figures carved from a single block of marble. Starting at the bottom, we can see a sabin, probably the father of a sabine, who is kneeling between the legs of a Roman. The Roman holds a sabine in his arms. This one is probably the girl of the man who is at the feet of the Roman.

The spiral form of the sculpture binds the characters together, and gives a sense of movement. The Roman advances, the sabine tries to escape, the sabin tries to stop the Roman and get up. The three figures are also bound by the look. Sabin looks at the Roman looking at the sabine staring at the sky, and as a result you unconsciously want to follow the eyes of everyone and therefore lift the head.You can also see the tension between the Roman and Sabine thanks to the pressure of the hand of the Roman on the thigh of Sabine. The spiral composition of this sculpture makes it impossible to understand the work from a single angle, and you have to go around the sculpture to fully apprehend it!

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