Sculpted by Giambologna in 1583 The Rape of the Sabines is 13 feet 5 inches tall and is located in the Loggia dei Lanzi in the Piazza della Signoria.
Carved from a single block of marble, this Mannerist sculpture represents a scene from Roman mythology, that of the rape of the Sabines. After establishing Rome, Romulus and his followers (mostly male) sought wives and were subsequently rejected by the women of Sabine. As a result, the Romans abducted the Sabine women. The word rape is derived from the Latin raptio meaning to abduct. As if it were a dance, this sculpture depicts a Roman male lifting the body of a Sabine woman while standing over her husband. This sculpture is regarded as one of the greatest sculptures ever made and is breathtaking in its outdoor location. Not only is the sculpture framed by Italian architecture, it is also accompanied by an array of sculptures such as Cellini’s Perseus. The Loggia dei Lanzi is located in the heart of Florence and should be the first stop of any visitor.
Did you know?:
Currently located in the Hall of Colossus in the Academia Gallery is a plaster preparatory model made by Giambologna for The Rape of the Sabines. Interestingly, this model maintains the same dimensions of the actual sculpture which would have been rare for a preparatory model. Considering the accuracy of this plaster model, one could say the marble sculpture is a copy of the model. The model has a purity to it, as it would have been made solely by the hand of Giambologna. The same can not be said for the rendering of the marble sculpture.