Giovanni Da Bologna

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bologna, Giovanni Da


(Giambologna; pseudonym of Jean de Boulogne). Born 1529 in Douai, Flanders; died Aug. 13,1608, in Florence. Italian sculptor.

Bologna studied with J. Dubroeucq in Mons. In 1554 or 1555 he arrived in Rome, where he may have studied with Michelangelo. He worked in Florence at the court of the Medicis, as well as in Bologna, Genoa, and Lucca. Bologna was an exponent of mannerism. Formalistic, plastic objectives prevailed in his creative work, which had lost the greatness of the ideas and images that characterized High Renaissance art. Bologna executed richly ornamental fountains, sculptural groups and statues, and static equestrian monuments (Cosimo I de’ Medici, bronze and stone, 1593, Piazza della Signoria, Florence).

Developing the ideas of Cellini, Bologna aspired to create sculpture “ideally in the round,” possessing independent being in space and anticipating viewing from all sides (the group Rape of the Sabines, spiraliform composition in marble, 1583, in the Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence). He sought to make sculpture blend organically with the natural environment (Allegory of the Apennines, in stone, at the Demidoff Villa in Pratolino). Mannerist elegance of proportion and motion, dynamically sharp composition, and virtuosic meticulousness in working with the sculptor’s materials characterize Bologna’s works (Mercury, bronze, 1564, at the Civic Museum in Bologna, and 1580, at the National Museum in Florence). His sculpture also shows naturalistic effects (the bird statues for the grotto of the villa in Castello, in bronze, at the National Museum in Florence).


Dhanens, E. Jean de Boulogne.… Brussels, 1956.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.