A rare original of a large equestrian sculpture, this extremely naturalistic bronze head once belonged to Lorenzo the Magnificent of Florence. Originally gilded and wearing a bridle, it represents a young stallion whose rider is pulling the bit toward the left as shown by the folds of the horse’s lip and the inclination of its head. The modeling encapsulates the strength and nobility, the spirit and attentiveness of a well bred horse. With one ear backward it heeds its master, and with the other listens for any action ahead. It was restored in 1672 by Bartolomeo Cennini who filled in missing areas of the neck, and in 2015 it was cleaned and remounted more accurately. At that time three Greek letters (chi, nu, lambda) were found chiseled on the right side of the horse’s neck near the mane, thus proving beyond a doubt that it is Greek and was cast in the 4th century BCE. This is the first time the Medici bronze has been exhibited in Greece, and one of the few times outside Italy.
Medici-Riccardi bronze horse head
Greek, possibly from South Italy or Sicily
Cast bronze, once gilded, ca. 340 BCE
Florence, National Archaeological Museum 1639
Direzione Regionale Musei della Toscana