Giambologna (1529[1] – 13 August 1608) — (known also as Jean de Boulogne) — was a Flemish sculptor based in Italy, celebrated for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renaissance or Mannerist style.

Portrait of Giambologna
Portrait of Giambologna by Hendrick Goltzius, collection Teylers Museum


Jean de Boulogne was born in Douai, Flanders (now in France), in 1529. After youthful studies in Antwerp with the architect-sculptor Jacques du Broeucq,[2] he moved to Italy in 1550 and studied in Rome, making a detailed study of the sculpture of classical antiquity. He was also much influenced by Michelangelo, but developed his own Mannerist style, with perhaps less emphasis on emotion and more emphasis on refined surfaces, cool elegance, and beauty. Pope Pius IV gave Giambologna his first major commission, the colossal bronze Neptune and subsidiary figures for the Fountain of Neptune (the base designed by Tommaso Laureti, 1566) in Bologna. Giambologna spent his most productive years in Florence, where he had settled in 1553. In 1563 he was named a member (Accademico) of the prestigious Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, just founded by the Duke Cosimo I de' Medici, on 13 January 1563, under the influence of the painter-architect Giorgio Vasari, becoming also one of the Medicis' most important court sculptors. He died in Florence at the age of 79; the Medici had never allowed him to leave Florence, as they rightly feared that either the Austrian or Spanish Habsburgs would entice him into permanent employment. He was interred in a chapel he designed himself in the Santissima Annunziata.


Giambologna became well known for a fine sense of action and movement, and a refined, differentiated surface finish. Among his most famous works are the Mercury (of which he did four versions), poised on one foot, supported by a zephyr. The god raises one arm to point heavenwards in a gesture borrowed from the repertory of classical rhetoric[3] that is characteristic of Giambologna's maniera.

His other most famous work is the Rape of the Sabine Women (1574–82) a marble sculpture which is featured prominently in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence's Piazza della Signoria. This impressive sculpture which includes three full figures was carved from a single piece of marble. Giambologna carved it without a subject in mind, and the name Rape of the Sabine Women was given after it was in place in the Loggia. The sculpture was produced for Francesco Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Another of his marbles, Hercules Slaying a Centaur was also placed in the Loggia dei Lanzi in 1599.[4]

Giambologna's several depictions of Venus established a canon of proportions, and set models for the goddess' representation that were influential for two generations of sculptors in Italy and in the North. He created allegories strongly promoting Medicean political propaganda, such as Florence Defeating Pisa and, less overtly, Samson Slaying a Philistine, for Francesco de' Medici (1562).[5]

The equestrian statue of Cosimo I de' Medici also in Florence, was completed by his studio assistant Pietro Tacca.

Giambologna provided as well as many sculptures for garden grottos and fountains in the Boboli Gardens of Florence and at Pratolino, and the bronze doors of the cathedral of Pisa. He created the bronze sea-horses and some other sculptures for Bartolomeo Ammannati's Fountain of Neptune, Florence.[6]

For the grotto of the Villa Medicea of Castello he sculpted a series of studies of individual animals, from life, which may now be viewed at the Bargello. Small bronze reductions of many of his sculptures were prized by connoisseurs at the time and ever since, for Giambologna's reputation has never suffered eclipse.

Giambologna was an important influence on later sculptors through his pupils Adriaen de Vries and Pietro Francavilla who left his atelier for Paris in 1601, as well as Pierre Puget who spread Giambologna's influence throughout Northern Europe, and in Italy on Pietro Tacca, who assumed Giambologna's workshop in Florence, and in Rome on Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Alessandro Algardi.

Giambologna raptodasabina

The Rape of the Sabine Women (1574–82), Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence. The title was only assigned after completion.


Architettura, Palazzo del Bargello, Florence. This sculpture exemplifies the long limbs of Giambologna's influential ideal female type.

Giambologna Female Figure

Female Figure, (1571–73), J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Giambologna herculesenesso

Hercules and Nessus, 1599, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence


  1. ^ His birth is placed as early as c. 1524; see Lawrence Gowing, ed., Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists, v.2 (Facts on File, 2005): 257.
  2. ^ R. Wellens, Jacques du Broeucq, sculpteur et architecte de la renaissance (Brussels) 1962
  3. ^ Compare the figure of Plato in Raphael's School of Athens.
  4. ^ Avery, Charles (1987). Giambologna: The Complete Sculpture. Mt. Kisco, N.Y.: Moyer Bell. ISBN 0918825393.
  5. ^ The marble figure for a Medici fountain, the only large marble group by Giambologna to have left Florence, was given to the Duke of Lerma, then to Charles, Prince of Wales, at the time of negotiations for the Spanish Match; it was given by George III to Sir Thomas Worsley, at Hovingham Hall, Norfolk; it was purchased in 1953 for the Victoria and Albert Museum through the Art Fund ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-03-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link); "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2007-03-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)).
  6. ^ Archived 2017-08-26 at the Wayback Machine, p=199


  • Gloria Fossi, et al., Italian Art, Florence, Giunti Gruppo Editoriale, 2000, ISBN 88-09-01771-4.
  • Giambologna, 1529-1608 : sculptor to the Medici : an exhibition organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain etc., catalogue edited by Charles Avery and Anthony Radcliffe. London, Arts Council of Great Britain, 1978, ISBN 0-7287-0180-4.

External links

Alessandro Vittoria

Alessandro Vittoria (1525–1608) was an Italian Mannerist sculptor of the Venetian school, "one of the main representatives of the Venetian classical style" and rivalling Giambologna as the foremost sculptors of the late 16th century in Italy.

Andrea Andreani

Andrea Andreani (1540–1623) was an Italian engraver on wood, who was among the first printmakers in Italy to use chiaroscuro, which required multiple colours.

Born and generally active in Mantua about 1540 (Brulliot says 1560) and died at Rome in 1623. His engravings are scarce and valuable, and are chiefly copies of Mantegna, Albrecht Dürer, Parmigianino and Titian. The most remarkable of his works are Mercury and Ignorance, the Deluge, Pharaoh's Host Drowned in the Red Sea (after Titian), the Triumph of Caesar (after Mantegna), and Christ retiring from the judgment-seat of Pilate after a relief by Giambologna. He was active 1584–1610 in Florence.


Binche (French pronunciation: ​[bɛ̃ʃ]; Walloon: Bince) is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. On January 1, 2006, Binche had a total population of 32,409. The total area is 60.66 km² which gives a population density of 534 inhabitants per km². Since 1977, the municipality of Binche has gathered the town of Binche itself with seven old municipalities : Bray, Buvrinnes, Epinois, Leval-Trahegnies, Péronnes-lez-Binche, Ressaix and Waudrez.

The motto of the city is "Plus Oultre" (meaning "Further" in Old French), which was the motto of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who in 1545 gave the medieval Castle of Binche to his sister, Queen Mary of Hungary. She lavished attention on Binche, which she had rebuilt into Binche Palace under the direction of an architect-sculptor Jacques du Broeucq, remembered today as the first master of Giambologna. The château, intended to rival Fontainebleau, was destroyed by the soldiers of Henry II of France in 1554.

In 2003, the Carnival of Binche was proclaimed one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Corpus (Bernini)

Corpus (The Body) is a life-size bronze sculpture of the crucified Jesus by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Cast in 1650, Bernini held onto it in his private collection for 25 years.Corpus is considered one of the artist's "long-lost masterpieces". It is believed that Bernini cast three versions of Corpus. One version was destroyed during the French Revolution, one belonged to the official collection of the royal family of Spain, and one that was recorded in the Perugia region of Italy in 1790 before going missing. The Corpus donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto was long believed to have been cast by an unknown French artist. In 2004, following new scholarly studies of the work, Corpus was attributed to Bernini, who cast the sculpture for his personal collection.After being "lost" for over one hundred years, Corpus surfaced in Venice in 1908. Later it fell into private hands in the United States, but by that time it was misidentified as a work from the school of Giambologna. At an auction in 1975, it failed to sell for the very low price of $200. It was not until 2002 that it was recognized as a Bernini. And it took until 2005 for the provenance to be definitely and directly linked to Bernini. In January 2007, Toronto real estate developer Murray Frum negotiated to buy the sculpture from an art dealer in the United States, and then donated the sculpture to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Corpus is said to be worth $50 million in the current art market.

Crouching Venus

This article discusses the type itself: see links within it for specific instances of the type.The Crouching Venus is a Hellenistic model of Venus surprised at her bath. Venus crouches with her right knee close to the ground, turns her head to the right and, in most versions, reaches her right arm over to her left shoulder to cover her breasts. To judge by the number of copies that have been excavated on Roman sites in Italy and France, this variant on Venus seems to have been popular.

A number of examples of the Crouching Venus in prominent collections have influenced modern sculptors since Giambologna and have been drawn by artists since Martin Heemskerck, who made a drawing of the Farnese Crouching Venus that is now in Naples.

Equestrian Monument of Cosimo I

The Equestrian Monument of Cosimo I is a bronze equestrian statue erected in 1594 in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, region of Tuscany, Italy.

Equestrian Monument of Ferdinando I

The Equestrian Monument of Ferdinando I is a bronze equestrian statue erected in 1608 in the Piazza of the Annunziata in Florence, region of Tuscany, Italy.

Female Figure (Giambologna)

Female Figure is a near life-size 16th century marble statue by the Flemish sculptor Giambologna. It measures 114.9 cm (45 1/4 in.) and depicts an unidentified woman who may be Bathsheba, Venus or another mythological person. The work dates from 1571–73, early in the artist's career, and has been held by the J. Paul Getty Museum since 1982. The woman is nude save for a bracelet on her upper left arm and a discarded garment covering her lap. She sits on a column draped with cloths, holding a jar in one hand, drying her left foot with the other. According to the Getty, her complex positioning shows her "bathing in a graceful serpentine pose, characteristic of Mannerist elegance ... figura serpentinata." Other art historians describe her unusual bodily positioning as evidencing an "anxious grace".The work's dating and attribution was debated for centuries , though it is now confidently associated with Giambologna due to its similarity to several other known works by him, including the Florence Triumphant over Pisa now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The statue has been restored twice and is in relatively good condition.

Fountain of Neptune, Bologna

The Fountain of Neptune (Italian: Fontana di Nettuno) is a monumental civic fountain located in the eponymous square, Piazza del Nettuno, next to Piazza Maggiore, in Bologna, Italy The bronze figure of Neptune, extending his reach in a lordly gesture of stilling and controlling the waters, was completed around 1567 and was an early work by Giambologna.

An innovation of Giambologna's fountain designs is the fantastic and non-geometrical forms he gave to the basins into which water splashed and flowed, "curiously folded, bulging and elastic in form", as Rosalind Grippi remarked. The fountain is a model example of Mannerist taste of the courtly elite in the mid-sixteenth century: construction of the statue was commissioned by the Cardinal Legate of the city, Charles Borromeo, to symbolize the fortunate recent election of Borromeo's uncle as Pope Pius IV.

The assembly and design of the fountain was completed by the Palermitan architect Tommaso Laureti in 1563, with an over-life-size bronze of the god Neptune on the top, executed by Giambologna, who had submitted a model for the fountain of Neptune in Florence, but had lost the commission to Baccio Bandinelli. To clear space for the fountain, an entire edifice had to be demolished. The fountain was completed in 1565, and the Neptune was fixed in place within a couple of years.

Fountain of Neptune, Florence

The Fountain of Neptune (Italian: Fontana del Nettuno) is a fountain in Florence, Italy, situated on the Piazza della Signoria (Signoria square), in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Made of marble and bronze, the fountain was commissioned in 1565 and designed by Baccio Bandinelli. It is the work of the sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati with some elements created by collaborators. For example, the bronze sea-horses are the work of Giovanni da Bologna, often called Giambologna.

Giovanni Francesco Susini

Giovanni Francesco (Gianfrancesco) Susini (c.1585 – after 17 October 1653) was a Mannerist Florentine sculptor in bronze and marble.

Jacques du Broeucq

Jacques du Broeucq (c.1505–c.1584) was a sculptor and architect from Southern Netherlands.

Jacques du Broeucq was born and died in Mons and is perhaps best known as the teacher of Giambologna in Antwerp.

Du Broeucq rebuilt Binche Palace south of Brussels for Queen Mary of Hungary, governess of the Spanish Netherlands, in 1545-49; Binche, the center of Mary's patronage, was intended to rival Fontainebleau; it was demolished by the soldiers of Henry II of France in 1554.He also designed the castle of Boussu and Mariemont Palace.

One of his most famous apprentice was Jean Boulogne, better known as Giovanni Bologne or Giambologna.

Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpjattsa della siɲɲoˈriːa]) is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. It was named after the Palazzo della Signoria, also called Palazzo Vecchio. It is the main point of the origin and history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political focus of the city. It is the meeting place of Florentines as well as the numerous tourists, located near Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza del Duomo and gateway to Uffizi Gallery.

Pietro Francavilla

Pierre Franqueville, generally called Pietro Francavilla (1548 — 25 August 1615), was a Franco-Flemish sculptor trained in Florence, who provided sculpture for Italian and French patrons in the elegant Late Mannerist tradition established by Giambologna.

Pietro Tacca

Pietro Tacca (16 September 1577 – 26 October 1640) was an Italian sculptor, who was the chief pupil and follower of Giambologna. Tacca began in a Mannerist style and worked in the Baroque style during his maturity.

Saint Luke (Giambologna)

Saint Luke is a 2.73 m high bronze statue of Luke the Evangelist by Giambologna, commissioned by the Arte dei Giudici e Notai and completed in 1597-1602. One of a cycle of fourteen commissioned by the guilds of Florence for the external niches of Orsanmichele, it is now in the Museo di Orsanmichele, although a replica fills its original niche.

Samson Slaying a Philistine

The sculpture of Samson Slaying a Philistine is the earliest of the great marble groups by Giambologna, sculptor to the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany, and the only substantial work by the artist to have left Italy. It was commissioned in about 1562, by Francesco de' Medici for a fountain in Florence, but was later sent as a gift to Spain being placed in Palacio de la Ribera, Valladolid. The group was presented to the Prince of Wales, later King Charles I, in 1623 while he was in Spain negotiating a marriage contract, and it soon became the most famous Italian sculpture in England. On its arrival in England it was given to the king's favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, and subsequently changed hands three times before coming to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1954.

The sculpture shows Samson wielding the jawbone of an ass in order to slay one of the Philistines who have taunted him. It is a good example of the multiple viewpoints seen in Giambologna's work; the spiralling movement of the bodies means that there is no main view. The dramatic pose is based on a composition by Michelangelo, who was in his late seventies when Giambologna met him in Rome. The group was carved from just one block of marble, supported by only five narrow points. Although the marble is weathered from three centuries outdoors, it still shows Giambologna's sensitive carving.


A signaller in the armed forces is a specialist soldier, seaman or airman responsible for military communications. Signallers, a.k.a. Combat Signallers or signalmen or women, are commonly employed as radio or telephone operators, relaying messages for field commanders at the front line (Army units, Ships or Aircraft), through a chain of command which includes field headquarters and ultimately governments and non government organisations. Messages are transmitted and received via a communications infrastructure comprising fixed and mobile installations.

The Rape of the Sabine Women

The Rape of the Sabine Women was an incident in Roman mythology in which the men of Rome committed a mass abduction of young women from the other cities in the region. It has been a frequent subject of artists, particularly during the Renaissance and post-Renaissance eras.

The word "rape" is the conventional translation of the Latin word raptio used in the ancient accounts of the incident. Modern scholars tend to interpret the word as "abduction" or "kidnapping" as opposed to a sexual assault. Controversy remains, however, as to how the acts committed against the women should be judged.

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