Rape of the Sabine Women
Artist Giovanni Bologna
Date completed 1583
Movement Late Renaissance
Dimensions height 13’6″
Housed at Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence
Created by Bologna while in the Accademia del Disegno, a school that was founded by the Medici family and led by such renowned artists as Bronzino and Vasari. Bologna did not have a specific theme or narrative when he created this piece, but simply wanted to demonstrate his remarkable skill by placing three writhing figures atop one another—certainly no small feat; another member of the Academy suggested this work’s ultimate name (alluding to the narrative of Rome’s founders tricking then raping their neighboring Sabine women) and Bologna agreed.
The twisting, muscular figures recall Bologna’s contemporary peers in the High Renaissance, but the emotive expressions and subject matter of the work places it in the Mannerist genre. Cosimo I was so impressed with this work upon its completion that he had it placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria.