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Monday, March 31, 2014

The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

In his equestrian statue, Marcus Aurelius is a powerful and successful military commander, but also is marked as an intellect because of his “philosopher” hairstyle, beard and stoic expression.  He sits atop his horse, who once crushed a barbarian underneath his raised hoof, with his hand reaching out as if he is addressing an audience.  He carries no weapons as if to suggest that he conquers effortlessly and by the will of the gods.  Although this Equestrian was created during the Early Roman Imperial period, circa 176 CE, many medieval Christians confused Marcus Aurelius for Constantine during the Middle Ages, and because of this, this gilded bronze sculpture was not melted down as many other equestrian statues were.  Since it is one of the only surviving equestrians from this period, it has influenced many other art works such as Donatello’s Gattamelata and the Equestrian of Charles the Bald.

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