Large bronze after Giambologna
"Rape of the Sabine", Baroque style, France around 1870. Dark patina. Strongly moving, staggered depiction of two male nudes, one female. Carrying away nude with outstretched arms raised high. On a rectangular rock base, lateral. inscribed "Jean de Bologne". On a red marble base and large wooden column (oak) with leaf volute carving. Surfaces partially rubbed, marble and wood slightly damaged. Total H 212 cm After the marble sculpture (1579) in the Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence.
height of the bronze: 90 cm
height of the base including the marble plinth: 122 cm
Under the right arcade of the Loggia dei Lanzi in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence stands a marble group of three larger-than-life figures created by Giambologna (1529–1608), which is referred to as the Abduction of the Sabine Woman. A naked youth lifts a naked young woman above an old man crouching on the ground who looks up in fear. Giambologna signed the work, which had been in progress since 1579, in 1582. The sculptor had initially conceived the group without a commission and without a specific theme. The title of the composition does not come from the artist himself, but was coined afterwards by his friend, the humanist Raffaello Borghini. It is characteristic of Mannerist art that problems of form and their artistic implementation often let the actual theme of a work recede into the background. "Giambologna may have been the first artist of modern times to pursue art for the sake of art and its perfection" (Beaucamp 1978). He is not concerned with a message, but solely with moving and moving beauty.
Giambologna's group of figures can rightly be described as the pinnacle of Mannerist sculpture, because it is "equally beautiful from all sides", i. i.e. there is no main view. Around the middle of the 16th century, theoretical discussions repeatedly demanded that a perfect sculptural work of art must have numerous views of equal value. In addition, Giambologna's Rape of the Sabine is the perfect realization of the figura serpentinata. A figura serpentinata is a figure that is moving upwards and has a twisted body axis – although this rotation does not have to be caused by the action. For the Mannerist sculptor, beauty is “no longer static but dynamic. A beautiful body is still a well-proportioned body. But the proportion is no longer emphasized, but dissolved in the elegance of the movement” (Moser 2006). Giambologna's three figures not only circle, they also strive upwards - a double movement that forces the viewer to walk around his sculpture. And this is precisely what reinforces the impression of movement: "The real movement of the viewer supports the illusionistic representation of movement". The view from the left shows how the central figure of the well-formed young man literally pushes the inferior older man to the ground with his buttocks. Only this perspective explains his compressed attitude. While the face of the older man cannot be seen from this side, the faces of the other two figures come into view all the more clearly: the profile of the youth, who looks up at the object of his desire with his mouth slightly open, and the painful one Face of the woman, whose mouth is probably open to scream and who looks away from the perpetrator to the left for help. "The young woman's neck is painfully overstretched and her whole body arches convulsively like a tense arch from the soles of her feet to her forehead" (Schröder 2004, p. 185). Her twisted body also indicates that she wants to use all her strength to wriggle out of the man's grasp. Especially the firm grip that seems to dig into her soft flesh is particularly emphasized from this side. Above all, the figure of the defeated older man, by turning his body, guides the viewer to walk around the sculptural group from this side anti-clockwise to the right. The muscular body of the young man with his broad back is now visible from the front view, which seems to be able to lift the woman effortlessly. Her upper body with her breasts bulging forward and her head thrown back dramatically appears over the shoulder of the man, but only in part, but staged all the more erotic. The woman's arms are not directed towards the aggressor, but are reaching into the void in search of help, with her left arm stretched far upwards, optically bringing the dynamic upward movement of the entire group of figures to a close. In the front view, the facial expressions of the defeated older man can now also be seen, who looks up full of fear and terror and holds his left hand protectively in front of his face.
The young man's slightly twisted upper body encourages the viewer to continue walking around the sculptural group to the right. From this side, the stepping position of the youth comes into view, stepping over the older one and embracing the woman's hip with his strong right arm. At the same time, the action gains in drama here because the upper body of the young woman looms menacingly over the man's shoulder, so that the entire group of figures threatens to lose its stability. "The frightened face of the older man appears in this regard not only as a reaction to the power of the younger man, but also to the possible fall of the woman"