GIAMBOLOGNA
(b. ca. 1524, Douai, d. 1608, Firenze)

Equestrian Portrait of Cosimo I

1587-94
Bronze, height 450 cm
Piazza della Signoria, Florence

Giambologna made numerous equine studies before he was commissioned for an equestrian. In 1587 Ferdinando I commissioned the bronze equestrian of Cosimo I in the Piazza della Signoria. He was given a studio wit a foundry for the project where the horse and rider were cast separately. Three reliefs on the base depict political events in Cosimo's reign in the unadulterated propaganda of absolutism. This was the first time in Florence that a sculpture praising a leader was displayed publicly and treated historically rather than allegorically.

The statue is closer to the Marcus Aurelius than Renaissance prototypes. The horse's billowing mane contrasts with its static body, while the Duke governs his horse nad implicitly the state. Cosimo's portrait is idealized.

The statue influenced all subsequent equestrians of sovereigns.