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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 figurine of a nude female body is ascribed to Giambologna.
The technique of modelling and the reddish coulour of the material point to a Florentine origine of the late 16th century. The model first appeared in England in the early 19th century. 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 figurine from Giambologna's workshop, the 'Woman Bathing'. This delicate model may also be one of Giambologna's stock from his earlier career in Florence when he was most prolific.

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.

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 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 for friendly heads of state, and were also eagerly purchased by European collectors as examples of sophisticated Florentine design. They were especially favoured in Germany and the Low Countries and were prominently illustrated in paintings of fashionable gallery interiors there.
For compositional subtlety, sensuous tactile values and sheer technical virtuosity, Giambologna’s work is virtually unequalled in any period or country.

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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