Prince Ferdinando di Cosimo III on Horseback

Giuseppe Piamontini (Florence 1664–1742 Florence)
Prince Ferdinando di Cosimo III on Horseback
Cast by 1717
Bronze 
24 5/8 in. (62.5 cm)

 

Ferdinando, Grand Prince of Tuscany, is wigged and armored in the French style to associate his rule with the divine right of kings. He wields the baton of command as casually as he controls the fierce steed, underscoring his power. Piamontini’s virtuoso statuette of a ruler on a rearing horse was unprecedented in Florence. The daring design and flawless execution of this bronze reflect his artistic mastery, as well as the sitter’s sovereignty.

In the same gallery, Ed Ruscha’s expansive 1988 canvas Seventeenth Century  rhetorically combines word and image to capture the tenor of a world dominated by the absolutist rule celebrated in Piamontini’s portrait.