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Female Figure
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Giambologna
Flemish, Florence, Italy, 1571 - 1573
Marble
45 1/4 in.
82.SA.37

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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.


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