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Rape of Proserpina (Rape of the Sabine Woman), c. 1579

Jean Boulogne called Giambologna

Flemish, 1529-1608 (active in Italy)
overall: 38 1/2 x 10 x 18 in. (97.79 x 25.4 x 45.7 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Giovanni da Bologna traveled to Rome in 1550 to complete his training with Michelangelo. Thereafter he made his career in Florence working for the Medici. This sculpture may be a preliminary study for his life-size, three-figured marble Rape of a Sabine in Florence. The forceful, contrasting movement of the figures is complemented by their physical differences—the taut, muscular youth, the supple, curving female form—and their psychological contrasts conveyed by gesture and pose. The drama of the movement is heightened by the use of contrapposto in which the upper and lower parts of the body twist in opposite directions, encouraging the viewer to walk around the piece and observe it from all points of view.

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