Bronze sculpture of a standing woman, leaning on a post, front view.

Giambologna (Douai, France ca. 1529–1608 Florence)
Cast early 1570s
15 1/4 in. (38.8 cm)


Given as gifts by Florentine Medici princes to rulers across Europe, Giambologna’s statuettes influenced a generation of sculptors. This personification of Astronomy stands in a hipshot pose, leaning on a plinth and resting her foot above a celestial globe. Her sinuous rotation invites viewers to admire her in the round.

Giambologna invented this groundbreaking type of composition, called a figura serpentinata, in which figures “twist like flames” and are equally beautiful from every vantage point. The bold rendering of Astronomy’s body, features, hair, and drapery preserves the freshness of Giambologna’s original wax model.


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