Barthélemy Prieur (Berzieux, France 1536?–1611 Paris)
Cast before 1611
8 1/4 x 8 3/4 in. (21 x 22.2 cm)
A gifted animal sculptor, Prieur introduced the Italian art of the statuette to his native France. His inventories of 1583 and 1611 list models of dogs, goats, stags, cows, bulls, lions, and horses. The composition of the Rearing Horse presented a daunting challenge because it required the sculpture’s weight to be balanced on the two points of the horse’s back hooves. The subject was so difficult that during the late Renaissance it came to symbolize the art of sculpture. This example from Prieur’s workshop exhibits the formal stylization typical of the master.