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Large 19thc Grand Tour sculpture ‘Abduction of the Sabine Women'

Large 19thc Grand Tour sculpture ‘Abduction of the Sabine Women'

Code: LVS1227


W: 29.2cm (11.5")H: 169cm (66.5")D: 29.2cm (11.5")


A large late 19th century (circa 1870) Italian Grand Tour verde Prato sculpture of the ‘Abduction of the Sabine women’ after the original marble sculpture by Giambologna (1529-1608) - ADDITIONAL IMAGES CAN BE VIEWED BELOW:

The figure depicts a Sabine woman captured by a Roman who stands over a Sabine man kneeling in defeat, sculpted in verde Prato stone standing on a square base supported on a turned circular column which can fully revolve when required.

The verde Prato serpentine stone has been quarried for centuries near to Prato, northwest of Florence in Italy and the stone is so named due to the resemblance to the skin of a serpent.

The ‘Abduction’ or ‘Rape of the Sabine women’ represented a dramatic ancient Roman incident where Roman men abducted women from the town of Sabine, the word ‘abduction’ in Latin is ‘rapito’ and in Italian ‘rapire’ meaning ‘to abduct’ – this possibly why the figure is sometimes referred to as the ‘Rape of the Sabine women’.

Giambologna, also known as Giovanni da Bologna and Jean Boulogne was one of the least known artists in the 16th century but his influence became extensive. He was born in Flanders in 1529 and arrived in Florence around 1552 and within a few years became Court sculptor for the Medici, having his own large workshop and being well known and respected for small and mid size bronzes and marble works and subsquently went on to create many other large works in Florence.
There was however an area he had not accomplished, that of monumental sculpture, and so set about to produce a sculpture of unprecedented craftsmanship.

The original sculpture was one of the most known works of 16th century Italy and located in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, was produced 1581-1583 from a single block of marble which was unprecedented for the time.
The three figures carved in twisting and contorting manner, all figures depicting movement, aggression and struggle as they move upward in a flame or twisting movement known as ‘figura serpentinata’ or serpentine figure, this popular with mannerist artists of the time.

The sculptor also did not provide just one view of the work, he wanted it to be viewed 360 degrees to attain the full dynamic image of the work, which is probably why this sculpture is supported by a revolving base.

According to the artist the sculpture can be interpreted as the ‘kidnapping of Helena or Proserpina or of Sabine women’, it was not named until placed in the Loggia dei Lanzi and the decision was made to name it the ‘Abduction’ or ‘Rape of the Sabine women’.

The sculptor also adding a bronze narrative relief depicting the story of the ‘Abduction of the Sabine women’ by the Romans placed in the base of the sculpture to clarify the subject to onlookers.

This sculpture is in good condition for age with minor losses and also some old repairs (it is not uncommon for serpentine items to have some damage or losses due to the fragility of the stone), it is of stable construction and can go straight into a home or collection.


Height: 66.5'' / 169cm (figure on base)
              47'' / 119.5cm (figure only)

Width: 11.5'' / 29.25cm

Depth: 11.5'' / 29.25cm