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Statuette - Nude female figure

Nude female figure

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Giambologna (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wax on iron armature

  • Credit Line:

    Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2002

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This wax sketch-model of a nude female is attributed to Giambologna. Its small scale, the torsion of the body, and the implied directions of the limbs suggest that it may be meant to be complementary to a well-known type of small bronze from Giambologna's workshop, the 'Woman Bathing', but it could equally have been connected to another of his works.

Born in Flanders, Giovanni Bologna (1524-1608), known as Giambologna, went to Rome to study antique sculpture from about 1550 to 1553. On passing through Florence on his return home, he was persuaded to stay, later being appointed as sculptor to the Medici Dukes of Florence, later Grand-dukes of Tuscany. As such, he became one of the most influential sculptors of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, establishing an extremely efficient workshop. Many sculptors from Northern Europe were drawn there, and subsequently disseminated his style on their return to the north.

By c. 1570 Giambologna had become the most influential sculptor in Europe; apart from the fame that his monumental statues in Florence inevitably brought, his style was also disseminated in the form of small bronze reproductions of his masterworks, or statuettes which he composed independently as elegant ornaments for the interior. These were used by the Medici as diplomatic gifts, and were also eagerly purchased by European collectors as examples of sophisticated Florentine design.

Physical description

Wax statuette. Nude female figure, head, arms and right leg below knee missing.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


16th century (made)


Giambologna (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wax on iron armature


Height: 11 cm

Object history note

On loan for 5 years from 27th January, 1979, lent by Sir Brinsley Ford. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance tax.

Descriptive line

Statuette, wax, model of a nude female figure, probably by Giovanni Bologna, known as Giambologna (1529-1608), Italy (Florence), about 1555-1560

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Giambologna 1529-1608. Sculptor to the Medici, Arts Council catalogue, 1978 (V&A)




Sculpture Collection

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