Bologna, Giovanni da

Bologna, Giovanni da
(Jean de Boulogne; 1529-1608)
   Sculptor from Flanders who in 1550 went to Italy where, after studying in Rome for two years, he settled in Florence. There he became the leading Mannerist sculptor. His best-known work is the Rape of the Sabine Woman (1581-1582; Florence, Loggia dei Lanzi) commissioned by Duke Francesco I de' Medici. The work shows three figures interlocked in a vertical, corkscrew composition (serpentinata) that grants a different view at each side and forces the viewer to walk around it. Bologna looked to the recently recovered Hellenistic Laocoön Group for inspiration. The pose of the crouching male, the woman's arm gestures, and their deep pathos stem from the ancient prototype. Bologna's bronze Mercury (1580) is in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence and once served as a fountain in the Medici household. Here, Mercury, the messenger of the gods, balances on his left foot over the mouth of Zephyrus, the west wind. This and other works by Bologna, with their well-balanced and dynamic compositions, proved to be a major force in the development of Baroque sculpture in Italy and the North.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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