Equestrian statues of past era, a brief note - 01

 Equestrian statue of Lord Mayo, British India. .pdavis.nl

An equestrian statue is that of horse  carrying a rider who may be a knight or somebody else.  Latin word eques, means 'knight 'and  equus refers to a horse. If the horse is rider-less, the sculpture is usually called an " equine statue. 

Sculpting a  full-sized equestrian statue is  a time consuming  work  and  is an expensive project  for any culture. Invariably,  way past it  involved picturization  in the form of portraits of rulers or  military commanders on he horse in the Renaissance period in the past era.  

Making an equestrian statue is a challenging one for the experienced sculptor because it involves the rider and the horse. It is a difficult task  to render it in either stone or bronze.  It is technically a great challenge for the  experienced sculptors who are confronted with the problem of weight and balancing the animal with the rider. However, there can be few types of art as majestic as the immortal equestrian statue of Richard the Lionheart (1856) by sculptor Baron Carlo Marochetti (1805-67), which stands outside the British parliament building, in London;

 Richard the Lionheart, England ,2015 upload.wikimedia.org

Above image: 12th-century English monarch Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart  on a granite pedestal in Old Palace Yard outside the Palace of Westminster in London, facing south towards the entrance to the House of Lordssculptor Baron Carlo Marochetti (1805-67).  He also  designed pedestal that was made by Freeman & Co. of Penryn, Cornwall.. ........

The sculptor has to put in extra work to make them appear a real one in action. In the case of a rider, his body position or posture, the way he holds the reins, gaze, his regalia (royal or military'), etc., need proper attention. Where as, with respect to horse, animal's gaze, ears, position of front and hind legs, saddle, stirrup, etc., have to be meticulously planned and shaped.   If a small mistake is made, that will mar  the entire statue. 

Equestrian statues  were  often placed in public places to  honor  military leaders who made distinguished contribution to the nation or kingdom and to  those  reputed  statesmen  for their active leadership quality in times of impending danger to the nation. Since Roman times, such exceptional people had been  publicly commemorated  with equestrian statues  so that the posterity would take inspiration from such people of past era.  In the modern era such horse statues are rare. 

The  horse statue  was found in or near Rome in the sixteenth century and then restored and popularized  by the Italian architect and sculptor, Giacomo della Porta. The purpose was simple: The Roman rulers in those days  erected  equestrian statues in order to be  immortalized by portraying themselves as riders of horses, a sort of self-adulation. Equestrian statues were more popular in Renaissance art (1400-1530) in Italy.

Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata upload.wikimedia.org

Above image:  The Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata is an Italian Renaissance sculpture by Donatello, dating from 1453located in the Piazza del Santo in Padua, Italy.t is the first full-size equestrian statue of the Italian Renaissance.........

In the middle Ages equestrian statues were not  common with exception. Many equestrian imperial statues during the Roman period, rarely survived because it was the common practice to melt down bronze statues for reuse as material for coins or new sculptures in the late empire. Obviously,  no surviving equestrian bronze statue was cast after Romans until the first half of the 15 CE. In the same period, a bit later, Donatello created the heroic bronze Equestrian statue of Gattamelata the condottiere that was installed in Padua. The painted equestrian funerary monuments to Sir John Hawkwood and Niccolò da Tolentino in Florence Cathedral, and the Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni (1478–1488) cast by Verrocchio in Venice proved that memorials with equestrian statues  were gaining currency in Italy.  As for life-size portrayal,  one may cite the Equestrian statue of Cosimo I de' Medici (1598) by Giambologna in the center of Florence - it was  a life size representation  of the Grand-Duke, erected by his son Ferdinand I

Equestrian statue of king Charles I, Charing Cross.en.wikipedia.org

 plaque added to the base of statue of Charles I of England.

Above images: Base of the statue with a plaque added after WWII.. Bronze statue shows Charles I of England on horseback;

In England, the earliest large English  the near life-size equestrian statue is that  of Charles I of England by Hubert Le Sueur of 1633 at Charing Cross in London. Believed to be the first Renaissance-style equestrian statue in England, it was commissioned by Charles's Lord High Treasurer Richard Weston for the garden of his country house in Roehampton. During the civil ware, it was kept in a safe place and when normalcy was restored it was installed in the present place.  It  was so popular other European countries followed suite. 

 Across the globe in many parts the hoof position of the equestrian statue will tell something about the horse and the rider. 01.If the horse is rearing (both front legs in the air), the rider died in battle. 02. One front leg up implies  the rider was wounded in battle. 03. If all four hooves are on the ground, the rider died outside battle. 04. If the dismounted rider is depicted as  standing next to the horse , it means that both were killed during battle. For example, Richard the Lionheart is memorialized, mounted passant, outside the Palace of Westminster by Carlo Marochetti; the ruler died 11 days after his wound, sustained in siege, turned septic. According to a London Web site from the  survey of 15 equestrian statues in central London nine of them  fell close to this thumb-rule  and it is "not a reliable system for reading the fate of any particular rider"