Female Figure (possibly Venus, formerly titled Bathsheba)

Object Details


Female Figure (possibly Venus, formerly titled Bathsheba)




Florence, Tuscany, Italy (Place created)


1571 - 1573




115 cm (45 1/4 in.)

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An unidentified nude female figure, is shown bathing in a graceful serpentine pose, characteristic of Mannerist elegance and known as figura serpentinata. The elaborate pose encourages the viewer to examine the statue from all sides. Giambologna concentrated on the aesthetics of creating an upwardly spiraling movement rather than suggesting a narrative. He contrasted the elegant contours of her smooth, attenuated body and characteristically expressionless face with her intricately carved, classicizing coiffure, drapery, and armband.

X-ray analysis has revealed a network of apparently interconnecting channels running from her raised left hand down to the base of the column upon which she sits, which suggests that the figure may once have served as a fountain.

Marble works by Giambologna are very rare, but contemporary documents discuss a statue that scholars identify with this one. In 1568 the biographer Giorgio Vasari mentioned a statue of a nude woman that Giambologna made for Bernardo Vecchietti in Florence; another biographer reported that the work was later sent to the Duke of Bavaria.


Probably sent by Francesco de' Medici, from Florence to the duke of Bavaria.

duke of Bavaria (Munich), either Albrecht V, Crown Prince Wilhelm, or his brother Ferdinand.

by 1632

King Gustavus II Adolphus of Sweden, Swedish, 1594 - 1632, taken to Nuremberg in 1632 and sent to Stockholm.

by 1703

Johan Gabriel Stenbock, 1640 - 1705 (Akero, county of Sodermanland, Sweden), by 1703.

Maria Elisabet Stenbock, died 1694 (Akero, county of Sodermanland, Sweden), and her husband, Axel Lillie, by descent to Christina Beata Lillie.

Christina Beata Lillie, 1677 - 1727 (Akero, county of Sodermanland, Sweden), and her husband, Eric Sparre, by descent to Ulrika Lovisa Sparre.

Ulrika Lovisa Sparre (Akero, county of Sodermanland, Sweden), and her husband, Carl Gustaf Tessin.

mid-1700s - early 1980s

Unknown Remained in Akero, Sweden (County of Sodermanland, Sweden), through successive owners, from the eighteenth century to the late twentieth century.

- 1982

Daniel Katz Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1982.

Adriaen de Vries: Imperial Sculptor (December 12, 1998 to January 9, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 12, 1999 to January 9, 2000
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