Giambologna (c.1529-1608; Flemish/Italian), after
The Rape of the Sabine Women
Marble, c.1.96 m high, including pedestal
Presented by the family of James Purves, 1878
Present location unknown

This statue is recorded as donated to the Melbourne collection in 1878, together with * Unknown (Italian, 19C?) Venus de’Medici (replica) {1878} Loc? [SC]. It may actually have been on loan earlier, since it appears in an 1875 engraving of the opening of the Public Library’s new picture gallery (later the McArthur Gallery), rising incongruously above the crowd in their Victorian finery: detail as shown here.

This statue was evidently a reduced-scale replica of the original group (Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, 1579-83), which is over 4 metres high.

Still listed in the 1943 NGV catalogue, this group no longer appears to be in the collection.

Refs.

AR 1878, p.51; SB p.67 (Statues); NGV 1880, p.2 (under ‘Statuettes’; as 6’5” high,  with pedestal); NGV 1894, p.131 (VI.Rotunda, no.26); NGV 1905, p.154 (VI.Sculpture – Entrance Hall, no.6)

The engraving, published in the Illustrated Australian News, 18 June 1875, is reproduced in Poynter, Mr Felton’s Bequests (2003/2008), p.65. Cf. NGV 1943, cat.1071