A BRONZE FIGURE OF A WOMAN BATHING
A BRONZE FIGURE OF A WOMAN BATHING

AFTER A MODEL BY GIAMBOLOGNA (1529-1608), WORKSHOP OF ANTONIO SUSINI (FL. 1580-1624), FIRST QUARTER 17TH CENTURY

Details
A BRONZE FIGURE OF A WOMAN BATHING
AFTER A MODEL BY GIAMBOLOGNA (1529-1608), WORKSHOP OF ANTONIO SUSINI (FL. 1580-1624), FIRST QUARTER 17TH CENTURY
14 ¼ in. high (36.2 cm.), overall
Provenance
Private collection, United Kingdom.
London, art market.
Literature
The Connoisseur, August 1968, vol. 168, no. 678, front cover.
M. Busco, 'The eye on the prize', Art and Auction, December 1989, vol. XXI, no. 5, pp. 147-151, illustrated p. 149.

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
C. Avery, A. Radcliffe and M. Leithe-Jasper eds., Giambologna. Sculptor to the Medici, London, 1978, pp. 74-75
Exhibited
The Age of Vasari, exh. cat., University of Notre Dame, Indiana and State University of New York, Binghampton, 1970, pp. 168-167, no. S 7.
Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, 1975-1981.
St. Petersburg, Florida, Museum of fine Arts, The Bronze Figure in Italy, 1981.
Louisville, J. B. Speed Art Museum, 1981, no. 14.
Malibu, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Dirty business/ Princely Bronzes: Casting techniques of the Italian Renaissance, 1991 [video].
C. Avery, Giambologna: An Exhibition of Sculpture by the Master and His Followers, exh cat., Salander O’Reilly Galleries, New York, 1998, no. 1, pp. 2-5.

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Lot Essay

The model for the Woman Bathing, or Kneeling Venus, was one of Giambologna’s most celebrated compositions, which he developed in different variations and was widely reproduced including versions by his most talented pupil, Antonio Susini. The woman, possibly Venus is kneeling to dry herself in a complicated pose known as a figura serpentinata, an elegant upwardly spiraling form. This elaborate position, so typical of Giambologna, would allow the viewer to examine the sculpture from all sides and for every angle to be both beautiful and engaging.

A unique signed example can be found in the Museo del Bargello which Avery dates to 1565-66 (Avery, op cit., p. 4). Originally in the collection of Ferdinand de’Medici, and documented in the collection as early as 1584 and already exhibited in the Uffizi’s Tribuna by 1589, it is initialed on a bracelet around the figure's arm. The present version, illustrated on the cover of Michael Hall’s iconic 1998 exhibition in New York, perfectly illustrates both the original genius of Giambologna’s design and the Susini workshop’s brilliantly executed bronzes.

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