This female figure was created out of a single block of marble by the Flemish artist Giambologna, who was active in Italy and known to work for the Medici family. Originally a fountain, this marble sculpture stands as a representation of the Mannerist period. This is exemplified by the elongation of the figure as her anatomy is stretched to give life to an elegant and striking posture. With sculpture of this nature it is important to keep in mind that these pieces were-in their time of creation-covered in paint. Though her hairstyle is common, this figure was blonde, an unusual choice, but Giambologna was known for thinking outside of the norm. The figure scrubs at her foot as water would have cascaded down from her vessel. Look closely to see the details of the washcloth’s texture and the shirt sleeve draped beside her. The contrasting surface of her smooth skin and wrinkled textiles showcases the pure talent and skills of the artist. This piece can be viewed at The Getty Center in Los Angeles!
Giambologna, “Female Figure (Possibly Venus)”, 1571-1573, marble
(All photos courtesy of The Getty’s website)