Essay: Sculpture an Unconventional Equestrian Statue

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[. . .] Moreover, the man's musculature is as chiseled and well defined as the horse's. The horse has met his match; free trade has met its match wit the FTC. Using the geometric forms common to socialist art, Lantz also offers a rather compelling view of American commerce at the height of Roosevelt's New Deal.

"Man Controlling Trade" has few absolute parallels in the world of public art and sculpture. Most equestrian statues are rendered to glorify military leaders rather than to impart a democratic political message. A case in point is Andrea del Verrocchio's fifteenth century equestrian monument of Bartolommeo Colleoni, Campo dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, in Venice, Italy. The very pedestal upon which the bronze statue is placed is much higher than that used by Lantz and the Federal Trade Commission in Washington. Whereas Lantz conveys the glory of the polis over unmitigated human greed, Verrocchio's monument depicts the singular glory of a military leader. In spite of their different themes, both statues do point out the importance of human endeavor: whether in the battle over territorial dispute or the battle over the right to remove barriers to market entry. Verrocchio is able to insinuate that a struggle has occurred prior to the victory scene he depicts; for if the soldier were not victorious, he would be immortalized on his trusty horse.

Verrocchio's equestrian monument depicts both man and horse in perfectly poised positions. Also a sculpture in the round, the Verrochio monument can be viewed from all angles to appreciate the artist's intent. The horse is completely disciplined, evident in its erect and stately gait. This is completely counter to the compromised position of Lantz's horse. Like Lantz's horse, Verrocchio's is in motion, but he walks and does not struggle against his human rider. The rider and the horse are in harmony and symbiosis. Moreover, the horse in Verrocchio's statue is adorned with equestrian decor befitting a military man. The man wears armor including a helmet. Neither horse nor human in Lantz's statue wear any adornments. In Lantz's statue, the human and the horse are engaged in an epic battle and thus are disengaged from the viewer. In Verrocchio's, on the other hand, the horse and the rider both have their gaze proudly set on the onlookers below. The man and horse in the Venetian statue are relaxed and at ease; their muscles are not bulging as are the muscles in Lantz's statue.

Both Verrocchio's and Lantz's equestrian monuments are sculptures in the round that are rendered on a massive scale and placed prominently in public places. Both sculptures depict the relationship between a man and a horse, a relationship with symbolic as well as literal meaning. However, the form, style, and political intent of the two monuments vary considerably. [END OF PREVIEW]

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Sculpture an Unconventional Equestrian Statue.  (2012, April 20).  Retrieved September 20, 2019, from

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"Sculpture an Unconventional Equestrian Statue."  April 20, 2012.  Accessed September 20, 2019.