Female Figure (possibly Venus, formerly titled Bathsheba) (3/4 right main, post-conservation)


The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

An unidentified nude female figure is shown bathing in a graceful serpentine pose, which is 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.


  • Title: Female Figure (possibly Venus, formerly titled Bathsheba) (3/4 right main, post-conservation)
  • Creator: Giambologna (Giovanni da Bologna or Jean de Boulogne)
  • Date Created: 1571–1573
  • Location Created: Florence, Tuscany, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 115 cm (45 1/4 in.)
  • Type: Sculpture
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Marble
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 82.SA.37
  • Culture: Flemish
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Giambologna (Giovanni da Bologna or Jean de Boulogne) (Flemish, 1529 - 1608)
  • Classification: Sculpture (Visual Works)

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