This plaster cast of a horse head originates from the original Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius, housed at the Capitoline Museums, Rome (Inv.MC3247). A replica stands in the open air of the piazza del Campidoglio.
The sculpture is made of two parts, the horse and the rider. The emperor's horse is a magnificent example of dynamism captured in the sculptural medium. The horse, caught in motion, turns its head to the right as to follow the direction of Aurelius' right hand with its mouth slightly open.
There were many equestrian statues in ancient Rome at the time of Marcus Aurelius' death. Late Imperial descriptions of the areas of the city listed 22 such statues, called equi magni, were of the same scale to sculptures such as this one. The statue of Marcus Aurelius is the only one to have survived to the present day, mostly thanks to its constant transferral between leaders up until 1538 when Pope Paul III ordered for it to be moved to the Capitoline Hill, which had become the head quarters of the city's authorities in 1143.
A year after its arrival, the Roman Senate commissioned Michelangelo to refurbish the statue. The great Florentine artist did not just limit himself to planning an appropriate site for the monument, but made it in central element to the magnificent architectural complex known as the Piazza del Campidoglio.
If you produce new work with the model and want to share it with us, drop us a line at [email protected] or [email protected] This scan was produced in collaboration between The Statens Museum for Kunst and Scan the World for the SMK-Open project. Every model produced from this initiative is available under an open source license.
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