The Rape of the Sabines   by Giovanni da Bologna (1524-1608)
from ISAC Statue, Italy
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Rape of the Sabines

Giovanni da Bologna

Bonded Marble

White - As Shown

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Men of the Renaissance, having renewed interest in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, delighted in classical subjects. After seeing Giovanni da Bologna's sensational work, they called it The Rape of the Sabines and he accepted the name. Actually, he was more interested in the formal design and the technical problems of executing that design than in the depiction of a legendary incident. First of all, there was the desire to unite three figures in a common action. The three nude figures were the aging masculine, the youthful masculine, and the feminine. He accomplished his objective by intertwining those figures with precise balance in a single column. Their gestures and the position of their bodies lead the eye around the statue with a spiraling effect which terminates in the raised hand of the girl. There is a sensuous naturalism in the modelling; the soft flesh of the woman yields to the pressure of the fingers of the man whose strength is apparent in the rippling muscles of youthful maturity while those of the older are already shrinking with age. The statue is highly decorative. It is a statue to be enjoyed from all sides. The original stands in the Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, Italy.