The Rape of the Sabines
- Place of origin:
19th century (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
This marble group representing the Rape of the Sabines, is a modern copy of Giambologna's original (including the bronze relief on the pedestal), executed in 1583 for the Loggia dei Lanzi at Florence.
The Rape of the Sabines is a legend in the early history of Rome. According to that Romulus, the founder of the city, used a trick to secure the future population of Rome. He organised a festival where the neighbouring inhabitants were invited, including the Sabines along with their wives and children. At a certain signal Rome's young men went into the crowd and carried away the unmarried wives. Plutarch has described to this legend the origin of the custom of lifting up a bride and carrying her over the doorstep of her husband's house.
Giambolgna's (1579–1583) 'Rape of the Sabines' is considered his masterpiece, and was interpreted to be related to the legend. His sculpture depicts three figures - a man lifting a woman into the air while a second man crouches - and was carved from a single block of marble.
Born in Flanders Giovanni Bologna (1524-1608), or short Giambologna went to Rome to study antique sculpture from about 1550 to 1553. He then travelled through Florence where he was persuaded to stay. He became sculptor to the Medici family and thus became one of the most influential sculptors of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. He drew attention to many artists from Northern Europe and disseminated his style mainly through small bronzes. He established an efficient and large workshop.
This marble group representing the Rape of the Sabines shows a Roman warrior standing over a Sabine man and lifting up a Sabine woman in the air. On the pedestal-front is a relief with various similar scenes.
Place of Origin
19th century (made)
Materials and Techniques
Height: 180.34 cm, Width: 48.26 cm greatest width of pedestal
Object history note
Given by S. Bruzaud, Esq.
Statuette, group, marble, the Rape of the Sabines, modern version of Giambologna's original executed in 1583 for the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy, 19th century
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in the Years 1905 - 1908. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, During the Year 1908, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition with Appendix and Indices. London: Printed for His Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, 1909, p. 24
Myths & Legends; Sculpture