View full screen - View 1 of Lot 31. Nessus abducting Deianeira.

After Giambologna (1529-1608), French, 18th/ 19th century

Nessus abducting Deianeira

Lot Closed

October 19, 02:30 PM GMT


15,000 - 20,000 GBP

Lot Details


After Giambologna (1529-1608)

French, 18th/ 19th century

Nessus abducting Deianeira

bronze, on an ebonised wood base

bronze: 42.5 by 36 cm., 16¾ by 14¼ in.

base: 16 by 24.5 by 17 cm., 6¼ by 9¾ by 6¾ in.

This lot should have a W symbol and will be sent to Greenford park after the sale. Please refer to the online catalogue for further information.
First modelled in 1575-1576, Nessus and Deianeira proved to be one of Giambologna's most successful compositions. Hercules’ wife, Deianeira, was seized by the centaur Nessus while crossing a river, and subsequently rescued by her hero-husband, who slew the centaur. Greek myth tells of the poignant consequences of the event, when Deianeira used Nessus’ blood as a love potion on her unfaithful husband, unaware that the poison within would destroy his mortal form. Giambologna created at least three signed bronze versions of the model, indicating the high esteem in which it was held by both the artist and his patrons. His radically complex composition, with two intertwined figures full of dynamism and balanced tension, explains its long lasting popularity.

The present bronze represents the second variant of the model, referred to as 'Type B' in op. cit. (no. 66). A version of this model was recorded in the collection of the sculptor François Girardon in 1710, while another cast, formerly in the collection of Louis XIV, is in the Louvre (inv. no. OA 9520).

C. Avery and A. Radcliffe (eds.), Giambologna 1529-1608. Sculptor to the Medici, exh. cat. Arts Council of Britain and Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, London, 1978, pp. 109-115