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Compare and Contrast the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius and the Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni Arts

The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius and the Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni are two intriguing artworks that show the visual use of a horse in different motifs. The first art is from the Classical period in the Roman Empire, while the second one emanates from the Italian Renaissance era. Cultural traditions are presented in different styles within these two arts, where the detailed attention shows the culture of wars and imperialism. The statues are from distinct art periods and cultures, which leads to different interpretations based on the influence of the era and culture. While the two portraits come from different ages and cultures, they represent similar leadership and authority ideologies through the use of a horse as a symbol of power and authority. Despite the differences between Roman classicism and Italian Renaissance in the focus of the statues presented, the artworks capture interesting and powerful figures of men on horses through dynamic composition and attention to detail, which helps to illustrate power and luxury in Classical Rome and Italian Renaissance.

The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is a remarkable bronze statue with a 13.9 ft height. It is believed that the statue was built between the 12th and 16th centuries in Rome by an unknown artist. However, it is believed to be a significant remnant of the Roman arts, depicting the emperors’ power and authority. The statue stood on the front of the palace, where it was designed to show a conqueror, Emperor Marcus. The statue shows distinct composure and motion, a common element in Roman Classicism. Dynamic effects are applied to the statue to illustrate the action and robust vigor of the emperor. The horse appears to be in motion based on the realistic attention to detail used in the era of the art establishment. The rider of the horse appears to be in action, which implies that he is riding the horse in a battled sensation. During classicism, there was immense attention to detail conveyed in the sculpture’s anatomy, enabling viewers to differentiate between the horse and the rider. Clear alignment of the body on the horse and the horse’s motion is presented lively, which helps to relate the context of the rider. Besides, this art employs symbolism to reflect on the emperor’s position in leadership and society. The rider’s pose and facial expression help to create a powerful expression of authority, which implies that the rider on the horse is an emperor and has an influential position within society.

On the other hand, the Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni is an outstanding bronze sculpture with a remarkable size of 3.95m in height. Andrea del Verrocchio created the statue in the 15th century, portraying a strong military commander. This art is supplemented with dynamic realism, which helps identify the work of the Renaissance era. It shows the man on the horse and the horse as different entities but engaged in riding action. Motion is presented through the anatomical insight into details of Armour and facial expression, which are outstanding. Besides, this art employs robust naturalism in presenting Colleoni and his horse, resembling real-life situations. The art shows the unique character of the rider on the horse with motion and pose, which creates strength and powerful determination. However, this art differs from ‘The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius’ in terms of individual expression emphasis. The ‘Equestrian of Bartolomeo Colleoni has a masterful presentation of the person on the horse, which seeks to convey the dramatic motion of the status quo of the horse riders who, according to the era, were soldiers and commanders in war. The final looks on the horse and its rider are unique styles of Roman Classicism, which helps recreate an idea of ruthless military leaders with massive energy and power.

In the cultural comparison of the sculptures, The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius shows the ceremonial symbolism of the era. Vast activities were important cultural norms for the Roman Empire. The leaders and commanders were of elevated status quo and would be involved in parades and inspections, which marked their powerful status in the community. The sculpture of the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius shows the harmony and dignified pose of the emperor. This was a cultural norm that the Roman Empire had in its reign and was influential in creating the artwork. Besides, the horses were viewed as vital symbols of power and authority since those who possessed them were from higher social status categories. The horse and the owner in this sculpture are decorated with gold-like colors, which shows affluence.

On the other hand, the Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni sculpture shows a culture of military patronage. This is reflected in the Italian Renaissance when leaders commanded wars and commissioned vast artworks. The sculpture shows titanic power and effort devoted to the rendered movement, which could imply battle in action. In the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius sculpture, the art employs a composed posture with less motion, which shows the emperor in his parades or attending social events. The cultural norms of the two eras play out in the art where the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius shows people of elevated social status, and the Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni shows a commander or a soldier in the war. Despite the differences, the sculptures show the use of horses as a powerful symbol of authority and status in Roman and Italian regimes.

Works Cited

Cavafy, Constantine P. “Ithaka by C. P. Cavafy | Poetry Foundation.”Poetry Foundation,, Accessed 4 July 2022


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