Samson Slaying a Philistine (Giambologna)

by Mikkal Noptek May. 09, 2009 41554 views

Giambologna, born as Jean Boulogne, also known as Giovanni Da Bologna and Giovanni Bologna (1529 - August 13, 1608), was a sculptor, known for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renaissance or Mannerist style.
Giambologna was born in Douai, Flanders (now in France). After youthful studies in Antwerp with the architect-sculptor Jacques du Broeucq, he moved to Italy in 1550, and studied in Rome. Giambologna made detailed study of the sculpture of classical antiquity. He was also much influenced by Michelangelo, but developed his own Mannerist style, with perhaps less emphasis on emotion and more emphasis on refined surfaces, cool elegance and beauty. Pope Pius IV gave Giambologna his first major commission, the colossal bronze Neptune and subsidiary figures for the Fountain of Neptune (the base designed by Tommaso Laureti, 1566) in Bologna. Giambologna spent his most productive years in Florence, where he had settled in 1553. He became the Medici court sculptor, and died in Florence at the age of 79 - the Medici had never subsequently allowed him to leave Florence, as they rightly feared that either the Austrian or Spanish Habsburgs would entice him into permanent employment. He was interred in a chapel he designed himself in the Santissima Annunziata.
The sculpture of Samson Slaying a Philistine is the earliest of the great marble groups by Giambologna (1529-1608), sculptor to the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany, and the only substantial work by the artist to have left Italy. It was commissioned in about 1562, by Francesco de Medici for a fountain in Florence, but was later sent as a gift to Spain. The group was presented to the Prince of Wales, later King Charles I, in 1623 while he was in Spain negotiating a marriage contract, and it soon became the most famous Italian sculpture in England. On its arrival in England it was given to the king's favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, and subsequently changed hands three times before coming to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1954.
The sculpture shows Samson wielding the jawbone of an ass in order to slay one of the Philistines who have taunted him. It is a good example of the multiple viewpoints seen in Giambologna's work; the spiralling movement of the bodies means that there is no main view. The dramatic pose is based on a composition by Michelangelo, who was in his late seventies when Giambologna met him in Rome. The group was carved from just one block of marble, supported by only five narrow points. Although the marble is weathered from three centuries outdoors, it still shows Giambologna's sensitive carving.

  Be the first to like this post
Join the conversation
There are 5 comments , add yours!
Gabriel 11 years, 11 months ago

Boas fotos, grande modelo...

11 years, 11 months ago Edited
Péter Somogyvári 11 years, 12 months ago

Awesome shots!

11 years, 12 months ago Edited
Sebastian Svensson 11 years, 12 months ago

Great Set like the first one

11 years, 12 months ago Edited
Ricardo 11 years, 12 months ago

Last one is amazing :)

11 years, 12 months ago Edited
Finbarr 11 years, 12 months ago

nice post !!

11 years, 12 months ago Edited