Pacing Horse

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Bronze sculpture of a pacing horse.
Bronze sculpture of a pacing horse, close up of head.

Giambologna (Douai, France ca. 1529–1608 Florence)
Pacing Horse
Cast ca. 1573–77, by Girolamo di Zanobi Portigiani
Bronze
9 7/8 x 11 1/4 in. (25.1 x 28.7 cm)

 

This Renaissance warhorse is powerful in proportion, disciplined in stride, and immaculately groomed from clipped mane to bound tail. By depicting a riderless steed, Giambologna celebrates the innate nobility of horses, affording his subject the same status as classically idealized nudes. Like the Bull, this cast captures the vibrant syncopation of contour and form that is characteristic of Giambologna’s early bronzes.

The statuette derives from Giambologna’s small preparatory models for the monumental bronze equestrian portrait of Cosimo I (Piazza della Signoria, Florence) that was commissioned by his son, Francesco I de’ Medici.