Giambologna's "Rape of the Sabine Women"

Denis Molodkin

Moscow, Russian Federation

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TUSCANY – “Dolce Vita” in an Old Land

The Loggia dei Lanzi, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

From Wikipedia

On the far right is the manneristic group Rape of the Sabine Women by the Flemish artist Jean de Boulogne, better known by his Italianized name Giambologna. This impressive work was made from one imperfect block of white marble, the largest block ever transported to Florence. The goccia model is now in the Galleria dell’ Academia. Giambologna wanted to create a composition with the figura serpentina, an upward snakelike spiral movement to be examined from all sides. This is the first group representing more than a single figure in European sculptural history to be conceived without a dominant viewpoint. It can be equally admired from all sides. The marble pedestal, also by Giambologna, represents bronze bas-reliefs with the same theme. This marble and bronze group is in the Loggia since 1583.

The Loggia dei Lanzi, also called the Loggia della Signoria, is a building on a corner of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy, adjoining the Uffizi Gallery. It consists of wide arches open to the street, three bays wide and one bay deep. The arches rest on clustered pilasters with Corinthian capitals. The wide arches appealed so much to the Florentines, that Michelangelo even proposed that they should be continued all around the Piazza della Signoria.

Sometimes erroneously referred to as Loggia dell’ Orcagnabecause it was once thought to be designed by that artist, it was built between 1376 and 1382 by Benci di Cione and Simone di Francesco Talenti, possibly following a design by Jacopo di Sione, to house the assemblies of the people and hold public ceremonies1, such as the swearing into office of the Gonfaloniers and the Priors. Simone Talenti is also well-known from his contributions to the churches Orsanmichele and San Carlo.

The vivacious construction of the Loggia is in stark contrast with the severe architecture of the Palazzo Vecchio. It is effectively an open-air sculpture gallery of antique and Renaissance art.

The name Loggia dei Lanzi dates back to the reign of Grand Duke Cosimo I, when it was used to house his formidable landsknechts (In Italian: “Lanzichenecchi”, corrupted to Lanzi), or German mercenary pikemen. After the construction of the Uffizi at the rear of the Loggia, the Loggia’s roof was modified by Bernardo Buontalenti and became a terrace from which the Medici princes could watch ceremonies in the piazza.

Artwork Comments

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