Equestrian Statue of Philip IV of Spain

Equestrian Statue of Philip IV of Spain

In the Plaza de Oriente in Madrid, there is this masterpiece, not only for its artistic value, but also for its technical characteristics. This is the first equestrian sculpture where the horse is rearing, so it is supported on the hind legs.

This equestrian statue of Philip IV, was made by Pietro Tacca in 1640, based on 2 portraits of the monarch, created by Velazquez.

Tacca begun the bronze horse sculpture in the classic position, resting on three legs. Most equestrian sculptures of that time were in this way, standing on the three or four legs of the horse.

Felipe IV statue in Plaza de Oriente
Felipe IV statue in Plaza de Oriente

The weight of the statue, supported only in the rear, was a difficult problem, and seemed impossible for all but genius mathematician Galileo. He first proposed to have a hollow front and solid rear.

After that, Galileo devised to make a steel bar divided in three, running from the chest, to the horse’s tail and hind legs. Thus, the tail would also be attached to the base of the sculpture, which provides part of the secret of the horse’s balance.

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