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Study for the Equestrian Monument to Francesco Sforza

Antonio Pollaiuolo (Italian, Florence ca. 1432–1498 Rome)

Date:
early to mid 1480s
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, light and dark brown wash; outlines of the horse and rider pricked for transfer.
Dimensions:
11 1/16 x 10 in. (28.1 x 25.4 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.1.410
  • Description

    This celebrated drawing was made by the Florentine painter, sculptor, engraver, and goldsmith Antonio Pollaiuolo. The sixteenth-century historian Giorgio Vasari, who may have owned the sheet and added the brown wash around the figures, seems to be describing this drawing in his 1568 biography of the artist. It represents a design for the bronze equestrian monument commissioned by Ludovico Sforza (1480-94, de facto ruler of Milan; 1494-99, Duke of Milan) in honor of his father, Francesco Sforza. This sheet may have served as a presentation drawing for Ludovico in the early 1480’s, when Leonardo da Vinci was also producing studies for the monument, perhaps in a competition for the commission. Leonardo continued to work on various designs until 1499, though the monument was never completed. The ambitious pose of the rearing horse, which is also found in Leonardo’s early studies, may have been inspired by the ancient Roman Dioscuri, Milanese coinage, or painted works by the two masters.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Annotated in pen and brown ink at right in a sixteenth-century hand: Gatamel

  • Provenance

    Giorgio Vasari; Simon Meller, Budapest and Paris (?); Philip Hofer, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  • See also
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    In the Museum
    MetPublications
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