Horsemen on Rearing Horses Part 4: Mid 19th Century – Present, Looking For Heroes (and Heroines) All Over The World

Table Of Contents

Horsemen statues become fashionable again, 1850s – 1860s

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Since mid-19th century, the horsemen on the rearing horses emerge all over the world.

COMPARANDUM: Equestrian statue of Archduke Leopold V on top of Leopoldsbrunnen, 1631, Caspar Gras, Innsbruck, Austria
COMPARANDUM: Equestrian statue of Archduke Leopold V on top of Leopoldsbrunnen,
1631, Caspar Gras, Innsbruck, Austria
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It is likely that the equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson erected in 1852 in Washinton, supposed to be the first statue in the world not to use the tail as the third support point, has triggered the re-emergence of the horsemen (and horsewomen) on rearing horses.

The first equestrian statue in Europe with only two support points was erected in Saint-Petersburg in 1859 (statue of Nicholas I of Russia); it was closely followed by the statue unveiled in Vienna in 1860 (statue of Archduke Karl).

(It must be pointed out that the statue of Leopold V, Archduke of Austria, was completed in 1631, had only two support points, and it was very much a public monument, much bigger than the tabletop bronzes that existed before. I am not sure why it is never mentioned in the discussion of two support points statues.)

Statue of Andrew Jackson, 1852, Clark Mills, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
Statue of Andrew Jackson,
1852, Clark Mills, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
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Statue of Simon Bolivar, 1859, Adamo Tadolini, Lima, Peru
Statue of Simon Bolivar,
1859, Adamo Tadolini, Lima, Peru
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Monument to José de San Martín, completed in 1860, dedicated in 1863, Louis Joseph Daumas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Monument to José de San Martín,
completed in 1860, dedicated in 1863, Louis Joseph Daumas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Saint George

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Surprisingly, Saint George enjoyed resurgence that started in 1850s and continues to 2010s.

Statues of Saint George since 1850s

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New statues of Saint George have appeared all over Europe, but also in New-York and Melbourne. In addition, as we will see later, many statues of Saint George have in Moscow.

Statue of Saint George and The Dragon, 1855, August Kiss, Berlin, Germany
Statue of Saint George and The Dragon,
1855, August Kiss, Berlin, Germany
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Statue of Saint George and The Dragon, 1887, Anton Dominik Fernkorn, Zagreb, Croatia
Statue of Saint George and The Dragon,
1887, Anton Dominik Fernkorn, Zagreb, Croatia
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Statue of Saint George and The Dragon, 1889, Joseph Edgar Boehm, Melbourne, Australia
Statue of Saint George and The Dragon,
1889, Joseph Edgar Boehm, Melbourne, Australia
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Statue of Saint George on top of Grote Markt 7 building, 1893, Jef Lambeaux, Antwerp, Belgium
Statue of Saint George on top of Grote Markt 7 building,
1893, Jef Lambeaux, Antwerp, Belgium
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Grote Markt 7 building with the statue of Saint George on top, Antwerp, Belgium
Grote Markt 7 building with the statue of Saint George on top,
Antwerp, Belgium
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St.George and the Dragon, 1897, J and G Mossman, Glasgow. Originally it was on top of a Co-op building. When the building was demolished in 1980s, it was moved to the ground level
St.George and the Dragon,
1897, J and G Mossman, Glasgow. Originally it was on top of a Co-op building. When the building was demolished in 1980s, it was moved to the ground level
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St.George and the Dragon, 1901, detail of the Monument to Queen Victoria by Edward Onslow Ford, Manchester
St.George and the Dragon,
1901, detail of the Monument to Queen Victoria by Edward Onslow Ford, Manchester
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St. George, 1922, LYR War Memorial at Manchester Victoria Station
St. George,
1922, LYR War Memorial at Manchester Victoria Station
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Clock with a figurine of Saint George (detail), 1925, Liberty Department Store, London, United Kingdom
Clock with a figurine of Saint George (detail), 1925,
Liberty Department Store, London, United Kingdom
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War Memorial with Sculpture of St.George and the Dragon, cr. 1925-30, C.L. Hartwell RA, London NW8
War Memorial with Sculpture of St.George and the Dragon,
cr. 1925-30, C.L. Hartwell RA, London NW8
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Statue of Saint George and The Dragon, 1963, José Rodriguez, Cáceres, Spain
Statue of Saint George and The Dragon,
1963, José Rodriguez, Cáceres, Spain
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Statue of Saint George and The Dragon, ?, Bratislava, Slovakia
Statue of Saint George and The Dragon,
?, Bratislava, Slovakia
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Monument to Saint George, 1990, Zurab Tsereteli, New York, the U.S.A.
Monument to Saint George,
1990, Zurab Tsereteli, New York, the U.S.A.
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The Freedom Monument (the St. George Statue), 2006, Zurab Tsereteli, Tbilisi, Georgia
The Freedom Monument (the St. George Statue),
2006, Zurab Tsereteli, Tbilisi, Georgia
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Statue of Saint George at the church of Estella, 16th-century, before 2018 restoration, after 2018 restoration and after 2019 restoration, Spain
Statue of Saint George at the church of Estella,
16th-century, before 2018 restoration, after 2018 restoration and after 2019 restoration, Spain
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Saint George In Graphic art in 1900s – 1940s

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Several depictions of Saint George, that present an old subject using modern artistric styles: post-impressionism, symbolism, art nouveau, cubism, expressionism, modernism, …

Saint George and the dragon, 1889-90, Gustave Moreau, Paris, France
Saint George and the dragon,
1889-90, Gustave Moreau, Paris, France
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Saint George and the dragon, 1897, Wilhelm von Diez, Munich, Germany
Saint George and the dragon,
1897, Wilhelm von Diez, Munich, Germany
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Saint George killing the dragon, colour lithograph (a postcard),1908, J.Jílovský, Prague, Austro-Hungarian Empire
Saint George killing the dragon, colour lithograph (a postcard),
1908, J.Jílovský, Prague, Austro-Hungarian Empire
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St. George And The Dragon, cr. 1915, Wassily Kandinsky
St. George And The Dragon,
cr. 1915, Wassily Kandinsky
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St. George Killing The Dragon, 1918, Ilya Mashkov
St. George Killing The Dragon,
1918, Ilya Mashkov
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Saint George and the dragon, 1918, Olaf Rude, Denmark
Saint George and the dragon,
1918, Olaf Rude, Denmark
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St. George Killing the Dragon, 1940, Giorgio de Chirico, Italy
St. George Killing the Dragon,
1940, Giorgio de Chirico, Italy
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Saint George and the dragon, ?, Adrian Buba (b. 1953), France
Saint George and the dragon,
?, Adrian Buba (b. 1953), France
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Saint George and the dragon, cr. 1960s, signed: Dana, United States
Saint George and the dragon,
cr. 1960s, signed: Dana, United States
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Saint George and the dragon, 2010s, Arsen Birch, Ukraine
Saint George and the dragon,
2010s, Arsen Birch, Ukraine
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Salvador Dalí (1904 – 1989): Obsession With Saint George and other Horsemen on Rearing Horses

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Salvador Dalí’s Saint Georges

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The subject of a horsemen on a rearing horse was a particular favourite of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí, who has produced countless depictions of Saint George using various media.

St. George and the Dragon, 1947, Salvador Dalí
St. George and the Dragon,
1947, Salvador Dalí
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St. George and the Dragon, 1962, Salvador Dalí
St. George and the Dragon,
1962, Salvador Dalí
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St. George and the Dragon, 1962, Salvador Dalí
St. George and the Dragon, 1962, Salvador Dalí
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Roger Freeing Angelica. St. George and the Damsel, 1970, Salvador Dalí
Roger Freeing Angelica. St. George and the Damsel,
1970, Salvador Dalí
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St. George with the Dragon, 1973, Salvador Dalí
St. George with the Dragon,
1973, Salvador Dalí
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St. George and the Dragon, 1974, Salvador Dalí
St. George and the Dragon,
1974, Salvador Dalí
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Salvador Dalí’s Horsemen Inspired By Old Art

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Dalí’s depictions of a horseman on a rearing horse were not limited to Saint George. He drew inspiration from Renaissance art and from Diego Velázquez, fused David’s portrait of Bonaparte for his Universal Tarot deck …

COMPARANDUM: Horse joust in Piazza Santa Croce, 1561 - 1562, Jan Van der Straet, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence
COMPARANDUM: Horse joust in Piazza Santa Croce,
1561 - 1562, Jan Van der Straet, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence
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Knight of Cups, 1984, Universal Tarot deck, Salvador Dalí
Knight of Cups,
1984, Universal Tarot deck, Salvador Dalí
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COMPARANDUM: Napoleon Crossing the Alps, 1802, Jacques-Louis David
COMPARANDUM: Napoleon Crossing the Alps,
1802, Jacques-Louis David
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COMPARANDUM: Equestrian Portrait Of The Count-Duke Of Olivares, 1634, Diego Velázquez
COMPARANDUM: Equestrian Portrait Of The Count-Duke Of Olivares,
1634, Diego Velázquez
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Salvador Dalí’s Other Horsemen

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Salvador Dalí also used the image of the rearing horseman for many other subjects.

Horsemen in North America in the 19th – 21st centuries

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The United States Of America in the 19th – 21st centuries

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A few notable horsemen on the rearing horses have appeared in the United States in the 20th and 21st centuries. They seem to be more democratic at the beginning, then they are becoming more pompous, aimed at impressing the viewer.

Public Spaces Sculptures

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After the revolutionary statue of Andrew Jackson, completed in 1852, there seem to have been no notable statues of horsemen on rearing horses until very recently, when two of the world’s largest statues of horsemen on rearing horses have been erected.

The first one is the Good Defeats Evil statue of Saint George in New York, which was unveiled in 1990. It was desinged to commemorate the 1987 signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. The dragon in the sculpture is not the mythological beast of the early Christian tradition, but the spectre of nuclear war vanquished by the historic treaties between the Soviet Union and the United States. Accordingly, the dragon is shown lying amid the broken pieces of Soviet SS-20 and U.S. Pershing missiles. Actual fragments of these weapons have been used in the sculpture. It was designed by Zurab Tsereteli; its height (including the pediment) is 9.44 metre (31 feet).

The second one was completed on October 25, 2006, and is located at the entrance to Texas’s international airport of El Paso. Originally it was designated to depict Juan de Oñate. However, later it became the generic “The Equestrian”, because de Oñate’s legacy appeared to be contraversial. It stands 8.53 metres (28 feet) tall, 11 metres (36 feet) tall including the base.

Statue of Andrew Jackson, 1852, Clark Mills, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
Statue of Andrew Jackson,
1852, Clark Mills, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
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Equestrian statue depicting Argentine general José de San Martín, replica of a statue by French sculptor Louis Joseph Daumas, 1863, Central Park, New York, U.S.A.
Equestrian statue depicting Argentine general José de San Martín,
replica of a statue by French sculptor Louis Joseph Daumas, 1863, Central Park, New York, U.S.A.
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Equestrian statue depicting Cuban patriot and author José Martí, cr. 1958, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington, Central Park, New York, U.S.A.
Equestrian statue depicting Cuban patriot and author José Martí,
cr. 1958, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington, Central Park, New York, U.S.A.
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Monument to Saint George, 1990, Zurab Tsereteli, New York, the U.S.A.
Monument to Saint George,
1990, Zurab Tsereteli, New York, the U.S.A.
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Statue of Don Juan de Onate Salazar,2006, El Paso, Texas
Statue of Don Juan de Onate Salazar,
2006, El Paso, Texas
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The White House

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There are several depictions of the horsemen on rearing horses in the White House, Washington. Perhaps it is expected, given that this iconography is associated with power and leadership.

The horsemen can be seen in the Oval Office. The first horseman on a rearing horse, the Bronco Buster, has appeared there in the 1970s, during Gerald Ford presidency. The current president, Donald Trump, has added a tabletop copy of Andrew Jackson‘s monument (and also his portrait, you can see it above the Bronco Buster. There is also a Theodore Roosevelt‘s portrait in the Roosevelt room.

Photograph of President Gerald R. Ford and First Lady Betty Ford in the Oval Office with the Bronco Buster on the background,6 December 1974
Photograph of President Gerald R. Ford and First Lady Betty Ford in the Oval Office with the Bronco Buster on the background,
6 December 1974
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Bronco Buster, an original cast,1895, Frederic Remington
Bronco Buster, an original cast,
1895, Frederic Remington
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George W Bush meeting in the Roosevelt Room,2006
George W Bush meeting in the Roosevelt Room,
2006
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Theodore Roosevelt as a Rough Rider,cr. 1909, Tadé Styka
Theodore Roosevelt as a Rough Rider,
cr. 1909, Tadé Styka
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Trump speaking with Putin in Oval Office with statuettes of horsemen on rearing horses in the background, 28 January 2017
Trump speaking with Putin in Oval Office with statuettes of horsemen on rearing horses in the background,
28 January 2017
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Statue of Andrew Jackson, 1852, Clark Mills, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
Statue of Andrew Jackson,
1852, Clark Mills, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
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May-Trump Meeting, January 2017, Martin Rowson for the Guardian
May-Trump Meeting,
January 2017, Martin Rowson for the Guardian
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Casimir Pulaski (1745 – 1779)

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Casimir Pulaski (1745 – 1779) was a Polish nobleman, soldier and military commander. Pulaski is remembered as a hero who fought for independence and freedom in both Poland and the United States. He has been called, together with his counterpart Michael Kovats de Fabriczy, “the father of the American cavalry”. Numerous places and events are named in his honour, and he is commemorated by many works of art.

Casimir Pulaski in defense of Czestochowa, 1883, Juliusz Kossak, Kraków, Poland
Casimir Pulaski in defense of Czestochowa,
1883, Juliusz Kossak, Kraków, Poland
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Casimir Pulaski death near savannah, 1933, Stanisław Kaczor-Batowski, Lviv, Ukraine
Casimir Pulaski death near savannah,
1933, Stanisław Kaczor-Batowski, Lviv, Ukraine
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Casimir Pulaski Monument at Patterson Park in Baltimore, Maryland, 1951, Hans Schuler and A. C. Radziszewski, U.S.A.
Casimir Pulaski Monument at Patterson Park in Baltimore, Maryland,
1951, Hans Schuler and A. C. Radziszewski, U.S.A.
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Equestrian statue of Casimir Pulaski in Roger Williams Park, Providence Rhode Island, U.S.A., 1953, Guido Nincheri, Canada
Equestrian statue of Casimir Pulaski in Roger Williams Park, Providence Rhode Island, U.S.A.,
1953, Guido Nincheri, Canada
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Mexico after 1945: Revolutionaries, Santiago and Don Quixote

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There are quite a few horseman-on-a-rearing-horse statues in Mexico. Most of them commemorate those who were fighting for the homeland:
José María Morelos (1765 – 1815) and Pedro Ascencio Alquisiras (1778 – 1821), the leading figures of the Mexican War of Independence, as well as Pancho Villa (1878 – 1923) and Emiliano Zapata (1879 – 1919), who were leading the Mexican Revolution (cr. 1910 – 1920).

The statue of José de San Martín, the liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru, is a gift from the government of Argentina.

I could not find the creation dates form most Mexican horsemen statues, but, judging by their appearance, they ought to be made in the 20th century, most probably after 1945.

Statue of José de San Martin, 1973, after the statue of Louis Joseph Daumas (1862, Buenos Aires, Argentina), Mexico City, Mexico
Statue of José de San Martin,
1973, after the statue of Louis Joseph Daumas (1862, Buenos Aires, Argentina), Mexico City, Mexico
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Statue of Santiago Matamoros, ?, Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, México
Statue of Santiago Matamoros,
?, Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, México
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Don Quixote in the Clouds, 1989, Chapultepec Park, Mexico City, Mexico
Don Quixote in the Clouds,
1989, Chapultepec Park, Mexico City, Mexico
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Statue of José María Morelos, ?, Morelos Park, La Mesa, Baja California, Mexico
Statue of José María Morelos,
?, Morelos Park, La Mesa, Baja California, Mexico
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Statue of José María Morelos, ?, Toluca, Mexico
Statue of José María Morelos,
?, Toluca, Mexico
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Statue of Pedro Ascencio Alquisiras, ?, Martín Enríquez Loza, ?, Mexico
Statue of Pedro Ascencio Alquisiras,
?, Martín Enríquez Loza, ?, Mexico
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Statue of Emiliano Zapata, ?, Soledad de Graciano Sánchez, Mexico
Statue of Emiliano Zapata,
?, Soledad de Graciano Sánchez, Mexico
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Statue of Emiliano Zapata, ?, Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico
Statue of Emiliano Zapata,
?, Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico
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Statue of Emiliano Zapata, 1985 (?), Tulancingo, Hidalgo, Mexico
Statue of Emiliano Zapata,
1985 (?), Tulancingo, Hidalgo, Mexico
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Statue of Pancho Villa, ?, Bufa Hill, Zacatecas, Mexico
Statue of Pancho Villa,
?, Bufa Hill, Zacatecas, Mexico
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Horsemen in South America in the 19th – 21st centuries

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Just in Central America, the equestrian statues of the horsemen on rearing horses in South America show the revolutionaries and liberators.

  • Simón Bolívar (1783 – 1830), a Venezuelan military and political leader who led what are currently the states of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama to independence from the Spanish Empire;
  • José de San Martín (1778 – 1850), a Spanish-Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern and central parts of South America’s successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire who served as the Protector of Peru;
  • Bernardo O'Higgins (1778 – 1842), a Chilean independence leader who freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence.

According to Kees van Tilburg, there are as many as 54 equestrian statues of José de San Martín, including at least 40 replicas, almost all of them being copies of the statue by Louis-Joseph Daumas, unveiled in 1862 in Buenos Aires, was the first equestrian monument in Argentina. Replicas of this statue cannot only be found in many places in South America, but also in Europe (Brussels, Cadiz and Madrid), in the US (New York and Washington) and in Mexico City.

This famous statue was not Daumas’ first equestrian statue of San Martin. In 1859 he created the first equestrian statue in South America. This statue, also of José de San Martin, was inaugurated in Santiago de Chile and can be seen as a try out for Daumas’ masterpiece three years later in Buenos Aires. It shows San Martin on a staggering horse with a banner in his outstretched right hand. By removing the banner in his Buenos Aires statue Daumas changed the centre of gravity in such a way that the tail of the horse was no longer needed as a support point, giving the statue in this way a more dynamic character.

Equestrian statue of José de San Martin, 1859, Louis Joseph Daumas, Santiago de Chile, Chile
Equestrian statue of José de San Martin,
1859, Louis Joseph Daumas, Santiago de Chile, Chile
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Statue of Simon Bolivar, 1859, Adamo Tadolini, Lima, Peru
Statue of Simon Bolivar,
1859, Adamo Tadolini, Lima, Peru
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Monument to José de San Martín, completed in 1860, dedicated in 1863, Louis Joseph Daumas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Monument to José de San Martín,
completed in 1860, dedicated in 1863, Louis Joseph Daumas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Equestrian statue of Bernardo O'Higgins, 1872, Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, Santiago de Chile, Chile
Equestrian statue of Bernardo O'Higgins,
1872, Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, Santiago de Chile, Chile
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Equestrian statue of Bernardo O'Higgins, after 1957 (?), Chillán, Chile
Equestrian statue of Bernardo O'Higgins,
after 1957 (?), Chillán, Chile
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The Statue Of Bernardo O'Higgins and José de San Martín, 1968, Galvarino Ponce Morel, Maipú, Chile
The Statue Of Bernardo O'Higgins and José de San Martín,
1968, Galvarino Ponce Morel, Maipú, Chile
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Horsemen in Europe in the 19th – 21st centuries

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France: William The Conqueror, Jeanne d’Arc and Napoleon in 1850s – 1890s, and d’Artagnian in 2015

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Jeanne d’Arc (cr. 1412– 1431), a national heroine of France and a Catholic saint, has over 40 equestrian statues dedicated to her all around France. Only three of them – they are identical, located in Montebourg (original), Alise Sainte-Reine, and Ballon d’Alsace – feature rearing horses. The other one was destructed during the Second World War.

William The Conqueror statue,1851, Falaise, France
William The Conqueror statue,
1851, Falaise, France
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Statue of Napoléon I, 1865, Gabriel Vital Dubray, Rouen, France
Statue of Napoléon I,
1865, Gabriel Vital Dubray, Rouen, France
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Jeanne d'Arc Statue,dedicated in 1899, destructed in 1941, Orléans, France
Jeanne d'Arc Statue,
dedicated in 1899, destructed in 1941, Orléans, France
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Jeanne d'Arc Statue,1899, Mathurin Moreau, Montebourg, France
Jeanne d'Arc Statue,
1899, Mathurin Moreau, Montebourg, France
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Equestrian statue of d'Artagnan, 2015, Daphné Du Barry, Lupiac, France
Equestrian statue of d'Artagnan,
2015, Daphné Du Barry, Lupiac, France
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The most recent horseman on a rearing horse is Charles de Batz de Castelmore d'Artagnan, a real-life person who was a prototype of d’Artagnan, the character of d'Artagnan Romances of Alexandre Dumas, most famously including The Three Musketeers published in 1844. This monument is located in Lupiac, Gascony, France, where d’Artagnans (both the real one and the fictional one) were born.

Denmark: statue of Absalon, an archbishop and statesman, 1902

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Statue of Absalon, 1902, Vilhelm Bissen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Statue of Absalon,
1902, Vilhelm Bissen, Copenhagen, Denmark
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Absalon(cr. 1128 – 1201) was a Danish archbishop and statesman. He was the foremost politician and churchfather of Denmark in the second half of the 12th century, and was the closest advisor of King Valdemar I of Denmark. He was a key figure in the Danish policies of territorial expansion in the Baltic Sea, europeanization in close relationship with the Holy See, and reform in the relation between the Church and the public.

In 1167, Absalon was granted the land around the city of Havn, and built there a castle. Havn quickly expanded as one of Scandinavia’s most important centres of trade, and eventually evolved into modern-day Copenhagen. Thus, Absalon is considered the founder of Copenhagen.

The equestrian statue of Absalon on Højbro Plads in Copenhagen was unveiled in 1902 to mark the 700 years’ anniversary of his death.

Italy: statues to a Prince of Savoy and Garibaldis, 1900s – 1930s

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Monument to Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta and Amadeo I of Spain,1902, Davide Calandra, Turin, Italy
Monument to Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta and Amadeo I of Spain,
1902, Davide Calandra, Turin, Italy
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Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1913, Antonio Garella, La Spezia, Italy
Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi,
1913, Antonio Garella, La Spezia, Italy
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Monument to Anita Garibaldi,1932, Mario Rutelli, Rome, Italy
Monument to Anita Garibaldi,
1932, Mario Rutelli, Rome, Italy
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In Italy, there are three equestrian statues showing horsemen on rearing horses.

The first one shows Amadeo I of Spain, Duke of Aosta (1845 – 1890), an Italian prince who reigned as King of Spain from 1870 to 1873. He was elected by the Cortes Generales as Spain’s monarch in 1870, and was sworn in the following year. Amadeo’s reign was fraught with growing republicanism, Carlist rebellions in the north, and the Cuban independence movement. He abdicated, proclaiming the Spanish people ungovernable, and, completely disgusted, returned to Italy in 1873. The First Spanish Republic was declared as a result; it lasted two years.

The next two monuments commemorate Italian national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807 – 1882) and his Brazilian wife and comrade-in-arms Anita Garibaldi (1821 -1849), who played a decisive role in the Italian unification and the creation of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)..

Armenia, 1922 – 2012: national hero who drove Arab invaders out of Armenia in the 8th – 10th centuries

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David of Sassoun is the main hero of Armenia’s national epic Daredevils of Sassoun, which tells a story of the legendary deeds of four generations of strongmen in a warrior community in the Armenian highlands. The story of Sasun was “discovered” in 1873 by a bishop of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Garegin Srvandztiants. It has survived solely by word of mouth, transmitted from one generation to another by village bards. The literary merits of the Sassoun saga surpass its value as a historical or linguistic document.

The statue of David of Sassoun in Yerevan was inaugurated in 1957. A recent online poll by Yerevan Magazine found that Sasuntsi Davit is the most beloved statue of the residents of Yerevan.

Statue of David of Sassoun, 1959, Yervand Kochar, Yerevan, Armenia
Statue of David of Sassoun,
1959, Yervand Kochar, Yerevan, Armenia
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Relief showing David of Sassoun, ?, Artashes Hovsepyan, Cafesjian Center for the Arts, Armenia
Relief showing David of Sassoun,
?, Artashes Hovsepyan, Cafesjian Center for the Arts, Armenia
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David of Sassoun, 2012 or earlier, 13 years-old Armen Adyan, Armenia
David of Sassoun,
2012 or earlier, 13 years-old Armen Adyan, Armenia
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Portugal, 1935: a governor of Macau whose statue returned to Lisbon

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Statue of João Maria Ferreira do Amaral, 1935, Maximiano Alves, Portugal
Statue of João Maria Ferreira do Amaral,
1935, Maximiano Alves, Portugal
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According to ‘Rua dos Navegantes’, in Lisbon, there is an equestrian statue of Commander João Maria Ferreira do Amaral. Commander Ferreira do Amaral ruled Macau, South China region, between 1846 and 1849, at a time when it was still ruled by Portugal (1557 – 1999). According to the guidelines received from Lisbon, had been developing policies that were viewed as hostile by the Chinese. In retaliation, in 1849 individuals from the Chinese community have set a trap which resulted in the Commander’s death. The statue to commemorate a martyr who died in the line of duty was created by a Portugese sculptor Maximiano Alves in 1935 and inaugurated in Macau in 1940.
In November 1991, as the Macao administration moved to the People’s Republic of China, it was decided to remove the statue from Macau because the Commander was no longer viewed as a martyr but as a villain. It was transported to Lisbon and installed there.

Greece after 1945: liberation war heroes and Alexander the great

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In Greece, we find four modern statues showing horsemen on rearing horses. All four show military commanders. Two of them show famous Greek military commanders and leaders of the Greek War of Independence Georgios Karaiskakis (1780 or 1782 – 1827) and Theodoros Kolokotronis (1770 – 1843). The third one is Mordechai Frizis (1893 – 1940), a Greek military officer, who fought in World War I and distinguished himself in World War II. And, of course, there is a monument to Alexander the Great.

Statue of Georgios Karaiskakis, 1966, Georgios Karaiskakis, Athens, Greece
Statue of Georgios Karaiskakis,
1966, Georgios Karaiskakis, Athens, Greece
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Alexander the Great and Bucephalus,1974, Thessaloniki, Greece
Alexander the Great and Bucephalus,
1974, Thessaloniki, Greece
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Statue of Theodoros Kolokotronis, 1993 (?), Tripoli, Greece
Statue of Theodoros Kolokotronis,
1993 (?), Tripoli, Greece
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Modern Moscow, 1993 – 2014: Forward To The Past

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Modern Russia, and especially modern Moscow, are making their way into the future while trying to reconcile and be proud (as much as possible) of cultural legacies of three very different eras with conflicting views and messages: traditional Moscovite Russia, pro-European Russia as envisioned by Peter the Great, and Soviet Russia. Perhaps trying to build the culture that combines all three, and to make all three look good, creates too strong a link with the past and stands on the way of any progress. But it definitely creates a very unique, eclectic cultural mix, that is very interesting to decode.

Heraldics Is Back

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The lesser version of the coat of arms of the Russian Empire and of the Russian Federation are nearly identical.

COMPARANDUM: Lesser Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire, 1883
COMPARANDUM: Lesser Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire,
1883
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The new coats of arms for the city of Moscow and for Moscow Oblast (greater Moscow, excluding inner Moscow) are very similar to their pre-1917 predecessors.


After disappearing from the faces of Russian coins at the turn of the 19th century, Saint George has made his return in 1997-8, following the monetary reform in Russia, 1998.

A Saint George And A General Are Back And There Are More

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The very first Moscow horseman on a rearing horse was Saint George. His statue was erected on top of Kremlin Senate in Moscow in 1787. It was commissioned by Catherine the Great, and made of gold plated zinc. In general, the Russian Orthodox Church did not allow sculptural representations of saints. Presumably, they have only made an exception because this Saint George was commissioned by the Empress. So, this should be the only public monument to Saint George in Russia until the Russian Revolution. Unfortunately, it was stolen by French when they were leaving Moscow in 1812, and was never seen again. A bronze copy of this sculpture was installed on top the second dome of Kremlin Senate in 1995.

Kremlin Senate, with the Kremlin's Senatskaya Tower and Lenin's Mausoleum in the foreground, Red Square, Moscow, Russia
Kremlin Senate, with the Kremlin's Senatskaya Tower and Lenin's Mausoleum in the foreground,
Red Square, Moscow, Russia
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Monument to Saint George, Kremlin Senate domes with Spasskaya Tower in the background, 1995, V.Tsigal' and A.Tsigal' (В.Е. и А.В. Цыгаль), Moscow, Russia
Monument to Saint George, Kremlin Senate domes with Spasskaya Tower in the background,
1995, V.Tsigal' and A.Tsigal' (В.Е. и А.В. Цыгаль), Moscow, Russia
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Monument to Saint George on a Kremlin Senate dome, 1995, V.Tsigal' and A.Tsigal' (В.Е. и А.В. Цыгаль), Moscow, Russia
Monument to Saint George on a Kremlin Senate dome,
1995, V.Tsigal' and A.Tsigal' (В.Е. и А.В. Цыгаль), Moscow, Russia
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Despite the restriction imposed by the Russian Orthodox church, the second Moscow statue of a horseman on a rearing horse was also a sculptural depiction of Saint George. However, it was not a statue, but as a relief. It appeared on the original version of the facade of Moscow Polytechnic Museum, remained concealed in the Soviet era and was re-opened in 2019. The other one, part of Moscow’s coat of arms, has appeared on the facade of modern Moscow City Hall much more recently, presumably in the 1990s.

Saint George on the facade of Polytechnic Museum, created in 1872, restaured in 2019, Moscow, Russia
Saint George on the facade of Polytechnic Museum,
created in 1872, restaured in 2019, Moscow, Russia
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Facade of Polytechnic Museum, created in 1872, restaured in 2019, Moscow, Russia
Facade of Polytechnic Museum,
created in 1872, restaured in 2019, Moscow, Russia
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Saint George on the facade of New Moscow City Hall, 1990s, Moscow, Russia
Saint George on the facade of New Moscow City Hall,
1990s, Moscow, Russia
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New Moscow City Hall, created in 1782 by Matvey Kazakoff, restaured in 1990s, Moscow, Russia
New Moscow City Hall,
created in 1782 by Matvey Kazakoff, restaured in 1990s, Moscow, Russia
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The third pre-1917 Moscow statue of a horseman on a rearing horse was depicting general Mikhail Skobelev. It was unveiled in 1912 and taken down in 1918, shortly after the October Revolution. The new version was unveiled in 2014.

Monument to Saint George, 1912, Petr Samonov, Moscow, Russia
Monument to Saint George,
1912, Petr Samonov, Moscow, Russia
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Monument to General Skobelev, 2014, Aleksandr Rukavishnikov, Moscow, Russia
Monument to General Skobelev,
2014, Aleksandr Rukavishnikov, Moscow, Russia
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In addition, several new representations of Saint George have appeared in the Russian capital, including one on top a shopping moll dome and one on top of the monument to all Moscow railway stations. Some say that Saint George is new Moscow’s Lenin.

Monument to Saint George on Manege Square (Манежная площадь), 1997, Zurab Tsereteli, Moscow, Russia
Monument to Saint George on Manege Square (Манежная площадь),
1997, Zurab Tsereteli, Moscow, Russia
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Manege Square (Манежная площадь), Moscow, Russia
Manege Square (Манежная площадь),
Moscow, Russia
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Monument to Saint George, Polkonnaja Gora, 1995, Zurab Tsereteli, Moscow, Russia
Monument to Saint George, Polkonnaja Gora,
1995, Zurab Tsereteli, Moscow, Russia
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Monument to Saint George, Studio of Military Artists, 1990-2012, Alexander Taratynov, Moscow, Russia
Monument to Saint George, Studio of Military Artists,
1990-2012, Alexander Taratynov, Moscow, Russia
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Monument to Saint George, Komsomol'skaja Square, 2012, Sergej Scherbakov, Moscow, Russia
Monument to Saint George, Komsomol'skaja Square,
2012, Sergej Scherbakov, Moscow, Russia
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Monument to Saint George, Rijskij railway station, 2014, Moscow, Russia
Monument to Saint George, Rijskij railway station,
2014, Moscow, Russia
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Slovakia, 2010: a ruler of Great Moravia known for his conquests

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Statue of Svätopluk, 2010, Ján Kulich, Bratislava, Slovakia
Statue of Svätopluk,
2010, Ján Kulich, Bratislava, Slovakia
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Moravia was inhabited from the 4th century BC by Celtic and then Germanic tribes. It was settled by Slavic tribes by the late 8th century. They took the name Moravians from the Morava River, and developed a political community that emerged under Prince Mojmir I of Moravia (reigned 830–846). Mojmír was succeeded by Rastislav of Moravia (reigned 846–870). In 870 his nephew, future Prince Svatopluk I of Moravia dethroned Rastislav, who was a vassal of Louis the German, and betrayed him to the Franks. Within a year, however, the Franks also imprisoned Svatopluk. After the Moravians rebelled against the Franks, Svatopluk was released and led the rebels to victory over the invaders. Later on, Svatopluk was able to greatly expand his territories. His state was a loose confederation of principalities and territories Svatopluk had conquered.

After Svatopluk died in 894, Moravia collapsed in the midst of a power struggle between his sons and the intensifying Magyar (Hungarian) raids, and was finally destroyed by their attack in 906.

Slovakia consider Svatopluk their natinal hero, even though its territory being only one of several parts of his state, and the location of Svatopluk’s capital being not known (could have been either in present-day Serbia or in present-day Slovakia or in present-day Czech Republic).

Macedonia, 2011: the biggest horsemen in the world to date

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Warrior on a Horse, 2011, Valentina Stevanovska, Skopje, Macedonia
Warrior on a Horse,
2011, Valentina Stevanovska, Skopje, Macedonia
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Warrior on a Horse (detail), 2011, Valentina Stevanovska, Skopje, Macedonia
Warrior on a Horse (detail),
2011, Valentina Stevanovska, Skopje, Macedonia
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Warrior on a Horse, 2011, Valentina Stevanovska, Skopje, Macedonia
Warrior on a Horse,
2011, Valentina Stevanovska, Skopje, Macedonia
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In 2010, Macedonia undertook Skopje 2014, a government project with the purpose of giving the capital Skopje a more classical appeal. The project consisted mainly of the construction of circa 20 buildings – colleges, museums and government buildings, as well as the erection of circa 40 monuments depicting historical figures from the region of Macedonia.

The project was seen as political in nature and as a nation-building endeavour, as it tried to impose a new revisionist narrative of the Macedonian history, promoting a Macedonian identity with unbroken continuity from the antiquity over the Middle Ages to the modern times.

The main symbol of the Skopje 2014 project is the Warrior on a Horse statue and fountain in the centre of Macedonia Square. It is typically thought to depict Alexander the Great, though it is not officially named for him. “Alexander” was officially completed on September 8, 2011, to commemorate 20 years of the independence of the Republic of Macedonia. It is 14.5 metres tall and it sits on a cylindrical column, which itself is 10 metres in height. The column stands in a fountain. The monument also plays music.

Horsemen in Africa in the 20th century

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Ethiopia: commemoration of the Battle of Adwa (1896) that ensured Ethiopia’s indepenence

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Statue of Emperor Menelik II,1930, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Statue of Emperor Menelik II,
1930, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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The Battle of Adwa was the climactic battle of the First Italo-Ethiopian War. Led by Emperor Menelik II, Ethiopian forces, with the aid of Russia and France, defeated an invading Italian force on 1 March 1896, near the town of Adwa in Tigray. The decisive victory thwarted the Kingdom of Italy’s campaign to expand its colonial empire in the Horn of Africa and secured the Ethiopian Empire’s sovereignty for another forty years. Ethiopia was one of only two African nations to successfully resist European conquest during the scramble for Africa. In addition, Ethiopia was atypical amongst African nations by being both Christian and possessing a written culture several centuries old by the time of the Italian invasion.

The son of Menelik II, Haile Selassie, has commissioned the monument to commemorate his father, which was typical in Europe in the preceding centuries.

The Battle of Adwa, 1896, 19th century, Ethiopia
The Battle of Adwa, 1896,
19th century, Ethiopia
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Emperor Menelik II after fighting the BAD Italians through the gift of God with the help of Saint George after defeating the Italians returned to Addis Ababa in victory, 1940s, Solomon Belachew, Ethiopia
Emperor Menelik II after fighting the BAD Italians through the gift of God with the help of Saint George after defeating the Italians returned to Addis Ababa in victory,
1940s, Solomon Belachew, Ethiopia
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Battle of Adwa, with Emperor Menelik II and Saint George on rearing horses, 1940-1949, Ethiopia
Battle of Adwa, with Emperor Menelik II and Saint George on rearing horses,
1940-1949, Ethiopia
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King Sahle Sellase of Shewa mounted on a white horse at the battle of Adwa (?), 20th century, painting on woven nylon material, Ethiopia
King Sahle Sellase of Shewa mounted on a white horse at the battle of Adwa (?),
20th century, painting on woven nylon material, Ethiopia
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South Africa, 1954: leader of the Boers who fought against Englishmen

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Statue of Christiaan de Wet, 1954, Coert Steynberg, Bloemfontein, Turkey
Statue of Christiaan de Wet,
1954, Coert Steynberg, Bloemfontein, Turkey
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Christiaan de Wet (1854 – 1922) was a Boer general, rebel leader and politician. He was born in the Boer Republic of the Orange Free State, an independent state recognised by Great Britain on the year of his birth, in 1854. Transvaal, a free state neighbouring Orange Free Stat, was recognised by Great Britain in 1852. The Transvaal and the Orange Free State developed into successful independent countries which were recognized by the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, the United States, and Britain. These two countries continued to exist for several decades, despite the First Boer War with Britain (1880 – 1881).

However, later developments, including the discovery of diamonds and gold in these states, led to the Second Boer War (1899 – 1902). De Wet and his three sons were called up as ordinary private burghers without any rank. In 1900 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Free State forces. He came to be regarded as the most formidable leader of the Boers in their guerrilla warfare.

In this war, the Transvaal and Orange Free State were defeated by the overwhelmingly larger British forces and annexed into a new British colony, the Union of South Africa, on 31 May 1902.

De Wet was one of the leaders of the Maritz Rebellion which broke out in 1914. He was defeated on 12 November 1914, and taken prisoner later that year. He was sentenced to a term of six years imprisonment, with a fine of £2000. He was released after one year’s imprisonment, after giving a written promise to take no further part in politics.

A Horseman in Australia in the 20th century: William Romaine Govett, 1976

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Govetts Leap Falls, north of Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales, Australia
Govetts Leap Falls, north of Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales, Australia
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With the exception of Australian frontier wars between between Indigenous Australians and white settlers during the British colonisation of Australia, there were no recent wars on the territory of the continent. This explains why there are military hero horsemen on rearing horses like those we see on the other continents.

The only exception is the monument that commemorates William Romaine Govett (1807 – 1848), who, while working as an assistant surveyor in New South Wales, has discovered a bridalveil waterfall with a drop of about 180 metres. Subsequently, this waterfall was named Govetts Leap Falls.

The sculpture of William Romaine Govett was designed by an award-winning Australian artist Arthur Murch in 1976.

Horsemen in Asia in the 20th – 21st centuries

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Turkey since 1932: Atatürk and Sultan Alp Arslan, national leaders who fought against European invadors

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Statue of Honor (Atatürk Monument),1932, Samsun, Turkey
Statue of Honor (Atatürk Monument),
1932, Samsun, Turkey
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Statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, ?, Bodrum, Turkey
Statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,
?, Bodrum, Turkey
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5 Lira large type showing Atatürk on horseback on obverse, minted in 1974-1979, Turkey
5 Lira large type showing Atatürk on horseback on obverse,
minted in 1974-1979, Turkey
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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881 – 1938) was a Turkish field marshal. Following the defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire as the result of World War I, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies to partition Turkey among the victorious Allied powers, thus emerging victorious from what was later referred to as the Turkish War of Independence.

Subsequently, he founded the Republic of Turkey and served as its first President from 1923 until his death in 1938. His leadership undertook sweeping progressive reforms, which modernized Turkey into a secular, industrial nation-state.

Statue of Sultan Alp Arslan, 2013, Mustafa Tunçay, Aydin, Turkey
Statue of Sultan Alp Arslan,
2013, Mustafa Tunçay, Aydin, Turkey
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Statue of Sultan Alp Arslan, ?, Malazgirt, Turkey
Statue of Sultan Alp Arslan,
?, Malazgirt, Turkey
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Statue of Belek Ghazi, 1964, Nurettin Orhan, Elazig, Turkey
Statue of Belek Ghazi,
1964, Nurettin Orhan, Elazig, Turkey
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Sultan Alp Arslan was the second Sultan of the Seljuk Empire and great-grandson of Seljuk, the eponymous founder of the dynasty. As Sultan, Alp Arslan greatly expanded Seljuk territory and consolidated power, defeating rivals to his south and northwest. His victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 ushered in the Turkish settlement of Anatolia.

Sultan Alp Arslan seem to be a personal hero of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (b. 1954). The statue of Alp Arslan in Aydın is currently the second-highest statue of a horseman on a rearing horse in the world: the statue is 10 meters high without its pedestal, and 15 meters high with the pedestal.

Belek Ghazi was a Turkish bey in the early 12th century. His many victories in the wars against Byzantine empire and crusaders, as well as the capture of Baldwin II of Jerusalem, the king of Jerusalem, gained Belek fame both in Muslim countries and in Europe.

Iran after 1945: monuments to two rulers who built empires

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Statue of Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar, ?, Dezful, Iran
Statue of Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar,
?, Dezful, Iran
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In Iran, there are two equestrian statues showing horsemen on rearing horses. Both depict Iranian rulers, founders of the dynasties, famous for their military successes.

Ya'qūb ibn al-Layth al-Saffār (840 – 879), a Persian coppersmith, was the founder of the Saffarid dynasty, with its capital at Zaranj (a city now in south-western Afghanistan). Under his military leadership, he conquered much of the eastern portions of the Greater Iran consisting of modern-day Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan as well as portions of western Pakistan and a small part of Iraq.

It was during Ya’qub’s rule that Persian was introduced as an official language, and Ya’qub reportedly did not know Arabic. Ya’qub has been accorded the historical status of a popular folk hero since his court began the revitalization of the Persian language after two centuries in which the Arabic language flourished in Persian lands.

Many sources claim that he lived a very poor life, and it is mentioned that he sometimes ate bread and onions due to poverty.

Nader Shah Afshar (1688 – 1747) was one of the most powerful Iranian rulers in the history of the nation, ruling as Shah of Iran from 1736 to 1747. Because of his military genius as evidenced in his numerous campaigns some historians have described him as “the Napoleon of Persia” or “the Second Alexander”. Nader rose to power during a period of chaos in Iran after a rebellion, while the arch-enemy of the Safavids, the Ottomans, as well as the Russians had seized Iranian territory for themselves. Nader reunited the Iranian realm and removed the invaders. He became so powerful that he decided to depose the last members of the Safavid dynasty, which had ruled Iran for over 200 years, and become Shah himself in 1736. His numerous campaigns created a great empire that, at its greatest extent, briefly encompassed what is now part of or includes Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the North Caucasus, Iraq, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Pakistan, Oman and the Persian Gulf, but his military spending had a ruinous effect on the Iranian economy.

Japan After 1945: Monuments to medieval army commanders

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A number of statues of the horsemen on rearing horses have appeared in Japan over the last few years. They all depict the ancient historical figures. The statue of Minamoto no Yoshitsune in Komatsushima, Tokushima is the tallest in Japan: its height is 6.7 metres.

Equestrian Statue of Hojó Soun,?, Odawara, Japan
Equestrian Statue of Hojó Soun,
?, Odawara, Japan
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Shimazu Yoshihiro, ?, Hioki city, Kagoshima prefecture, Japan
Shimazu Yoshihiro,
?, Hioki city, Kagoshima prefecture, Japan
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Mogami Yoshiaki statue, Yamagata Castle, ?, Yamagata city, Yamagata prefecture, Japan
Mogami Yoshiaki statue, Yamagata Castle,
?, Yamagata city, Yamagata prefecture, Japan
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Monument to Minamoto no Yoshitsune, 1991 (?), Komatsushima city, Tokushima prefecture, Japan
Monument to Minamoto no Yoshitsune,
1991 (?), Komatsushima city, Tokushima prefecture, Japan
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Kikuchi Takemitsu statue, 1992, Kikuchi city, Kumamoto prefecture, Japan
Kikuchi Takemitsu statue,
1992, Kikuchi city, Kumamoto prefecture, Japan
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Philippines, 1971: a woman Who Fought For the Independence from Spain in the 18th century

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Gabriela Silang (1731 – 1763) was a Filipina revolutionary leader best known as the first female leader of an Ilocano movement for independence from Spain. She took over the reins of her husband Diego Silang‘s revolutionary movement after his assassination in 1763, leading the Ilocano rebel movement for four months before she was captured and executed by the colonial government of the Spanish East Indies.

Gabriela became a true national hero and a role model. In addition to the ‘official’ art, there are many popular art drawings that feature her on a rearing horse.

Statue of Gabriela Silang, 1971, José M. Mendoza, Makati City, Philippines
Statue of Gabriela Silang,
1971, José M. Mendoza, Makati City, Philippines
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Gabriela Silang fighting against Spanish forces, ?, Philippines
Gabriela Silang fighting against Spanish forces,
?, Philippines
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Gabriela Silang fighting against Spanish forces, ?, Francisco V. Coching (1919 – 1998), Philippines
Gabriela Silang fighting against Spanish forces,
?, Francisco V. Coching (1919 – 1998), Philippines
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China, after 1976: a Chinese peasant rebel who was an emperor for a month

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Li Zicheng (1606 – 1645) was a Chinese rebel leader. He was born to an impoverished family of farmers. According to folklore, in 1630, Li was put on public display in an iron collar and shackles for failing to repay loans to a usurious magistrate. A group of sympathetic peasants freed Li from his shackles and proclaimed him their leader. Armed only with wooden sticks, Li and his band managed to ambush a group of government soldiers sent to arrest them, and obtained their first real weapons.

By that time, ruling Ming dynasty had become weak financially, and struggled to deal with famine resulted from drought and widespread disease (smallpox and possibly the plague) that afflicted peasant populations. These factors have led to major peasant uprisings across Northern China beginning in 1628, with the Shaanxi province as an epicenter of the rebellion.

In 1633, Li joined a rebel army led by Gao Yingxiang. He inherited command of the rebel army after Gao’s death, and won many important battles. In 1642, Li captured Xiangyang and proclaimed himself “King Xinshun”. In April 1644, Li’s rebels sacked the Ming capital of Beijing, and the Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide, which put the end to the Ming dynasty. Li proclaimed himself the Emperor of the Shun dynasty. However, Li’s army was defeated on 27 May 1644 at the Battle of Shanhai Pass by the combined forces of the defecting Ming general Wu Sangui and Prince Dorgon leading the Manchus. The Ming and Manchu forces captured Beijing on June 6 and Fulin ascended to the throne to establish the Shunzhi reign with the Dorgon prince as regent. Li fled to Shaanxi. It is not exactly known how and when he died.

India, 1990s – 2010s: A Warrior-King and Two Queens Who Fought For the Independence from Great Britain

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Two most popular horsemen on rearing horses in modern India are actually horsewomen! Both were the queens (ranis) who fought for the freedom of India against the British East India Company.

Kittur Chennamma (1778 – 1829)

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Kittur Chennamma (1778 – 1829) was an Indian freedom fighter and Rani of the Kittur, a former princely state in South-western India. She led an armed force in 1824 in defiance of the doctrine of lapse in an attempt to maintain Indian control over the region, but was defeated in the third war and died in prison.

Statue of Kittur Chennamma, 2008, Jasu Shilpi, Kakati, Karnataka, India
Statue of Kittur Chennamma,
2008, Jasu Shilpi, Kakati, Karnataka, India
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Statue of Kittur Chennamma, ?, Ganesh and Prakash Patkar, Hubli, Karnataka, India
Statue of Kittur Chennamma,
?, Ganesh and Prakash Patkar, Hubli, Karnataka, India
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Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi (1828 – 1858)

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Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi (1828 – 1858), was the queen of the princely state of Jhansi in North India. She was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Lakshmibai died in a battle.

Statue of Rani Lakshmibai, 1995, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Statue of Rani Lakshmibai,
1995, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India
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Statue of Rani Lakshmibai, 2006, Jasu Shilpi, Gwalior, India
Statue of Rani Lakshmibai,
2006, Jasu Shilpi, Gwalior, India
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Statue of Rani Lakshmibai, 2008, Laxmi Bai National University of Physical Education, Gwalior, India
Statue of Rani Lakshmibai,
2008, Laxmi Bai National University of Physical Education, Gwalior, India
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Statue of Rani of Jhansi, 2010, Fakir Chandra Parida, Shimla, India
Statue of Rani of Jhansi,
2010, Fakir Chandra Parida, Shimla, India
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Statue of Rani of Jhansi, 2013, Ahmedabad, India
Statue of Rani of Jhansi,
2013, Ahmedabad, India
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Rani Lakshmibai, 2014, Rhea Daniel, Mumbai, India
Rani Lakshmibai,
2014, Rhea Daniel, Mumbai, India
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Statue of Rani Lakshmibai, ?, Swarna Jayanti Park, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Statue of Rani Lakshmibai,
?, Swarna Jayanti Park, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
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Shivaji (1630 – 1680)

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Equestrian statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji (digital rendering), to be completed in 2021 (?), Ram V. Sutar and Anil Sutar, Mumbai, India
Equestrian statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji (digital rendering),
to be completed in 2021 (?), Ram V. Sutar and Anil Sutar, Mumbai, India
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The heights of the sculpture of Chhatrapati Shivaji, original and reduced in 2018
The heights of the sculpture of Chhatrapati Shivaji, original and reduced in 2018
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The statue of the warrior-king Shivaji (1630 – 1680) that is planned to be erected in Mumbai, India, by 2021, will be the highest statue in the world. Its planned height (including the sword) is 121.2m, 210m including the pedestal.

In 2018, in order to cut the costs, the height of the horse and the horseman was reduced, but the total height remained the same because the sword had been made longer.

Father-son duo Ram V. Sutar and Anil Sutar, who are designing and building the statue, told in an interview: “The outside of the statue will be made of bronze and the inside framework will be made of steel and concrete. To finish the work by 2019, we have to employ about 2,000 workers. We have to work 24 hours, every day.”

“Monuments are very important to build the collective conscious of a country. If you look at other countries like China and Russia, you’ll find that they have several such structures. It is usually a place where people can gather at. In a way, monuments are built to keep a particular incident in history or an important person in the memory of a country’s people.”

North Korea, 2012 – 2019, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong Un

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Statue of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, 2012, Pyongyang, North Korea
Statue of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il,
2012, Pyongyang, North Korea
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COMPARANDUM: The Statue Of Bernardo O'Higgins and José de San Martín, 1968, Galvarino Ponce Morel, Maipú, Chile
COMPARANDUM: The Statue Of Bernardo O'Higgins and José de San Martín,
1968, Galvarino Ponce Morel, Maipú, Chile
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Kim Jong Un, 17 October 2019, Mount Paektu, North Korea
Kim Jong Un,
17 October 2019, Mount Paektu, North Korea
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From the perspective of iconography, the most interesting statue of a horseman on a rearing horse was created in the 21st century is the monument to Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, it is quite rare to portray exactly two horsemen. We have seen only a handful of double portraits, and this is the second double statue.

Secondly, it is a monument that depicts a horseman on a rearing horse, and it continues the tradition of erecting the equestrian statues to glorify the military achievements of the previous ruler, the father or the relative of the current ruler. We have seen this in 17 century in Savoy (Charles Emmanuel I for Emmanuel Philibert and Charles Emmanuel II for Vittorio Amedeo I), in 18 century in Saxony (Augustus III for Augustus II), in 19 century in Russia (Alexander II of Russia for Nicholas I of Russia), in 20 century in Ethiopia (Haile Selassie for Menelik II)… Then, after nearly a century-long break, we see it in 21 century in North Korea (Kim Jong-il for Kim Il-sung).

Illustrations with riders on rearing horses, the 21st century

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While illustrations might not be “high art”, they are a very good indicator of how the society views itself.

I have identified two large trends that feature horsemen on rearing horses in modern illustrations: political satire and riders on rearing unicorns.

political Satire with riders on rearing horses, 2009 – 2019

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The idea of employing horsemen on rearing horses in political satire is not new. The first such image I am aware of was made in the Netherlands in 1670-80 by Romeyn de Hooghe. It shows the French king Louis XIV, holding out coins, runs after Charles II who holds the sceptre of peace and rides a prancing horse.

Many more caricatures have appeared in the last few years, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States. The most frequently satirized person is the French president Emmanuel Macron. The most frequently used ‘template’ is Jacques-Louis David‘s painting of Napoleon.

COMPARANDUM: Satire: Louis XIV, holding out coins, runs after Charles II who holds the sceptre of peace and rides a prancing horse, 1670-80, Romeyn de Hooghe, Netherlands
COMPARANDUM: Satire: Louis XIV, holding out coins, runs after Charles II who holds the sceptre of peace and rides a prancing horse,
1670-80, Romeyn de Hooghe, Netherlands
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COMPARANDUM: Napoleon Crossing the Alps, 1802, Jacques-Louis David
COMPARANDUM: Napoleon Crossing the Alps,
1802, Jacques-Louis David
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'I have to pop over to Oslo to pick up my peace prize', December 2009, Morten Morland for 'The Times', Great Britain
'I have to pop over to Oslo to pick up my peace prize',
December 2009, Morten Morland for 'The Times', Great Britain
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COMPARANDUM: Statue of Andrew Jackson, 1852, Clark Mills, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
COMPARANDUM: Statue of Andrew Jackson,
1852, Clark Mills, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
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May-Trump Meeting, January 2017, Martin Rowson for the Guardian
May-Trump Meeting,
January 2017, Martin Rowson for the Guardian
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Advent of Emmanuel Macron, May 2017, Kichka, Israel
Advent of Emmanuel Macron,
May 2017, Kichka, Israel
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Theresa May's meeting with Emmanuel Macron, January 2018, Steve Bell for 'The Guardian', Great Britain
Theresa May's meeting with Emmanuel Macron,
January 2018, Steve Bell for 'The Guardian', Great Britain
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COMPARANDUM: Bayeux Tapestry, France, probably 1070s
COMPARANDUM: Bayeux Tapestry,
France, probably 1070s
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COMPARANDUM: Ye Berlyn Tapestrie: Wilhelm’s Invasion of Flanders, 1915, John Hassall, Ye Studio Offices, London, the U.K.
COMPARANDUM: Ye Berlyn Tapestrie: Wilhelm’s Invasion of Flanders,
1915, John Hassall, Ye Studio Offices, London, the U.K.
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Emmanuel the Conqueror, January 2018, Peter Brookes for 'The Times', Great Britain
Emmanuel the Conqueror,
January 2018, Peter Brookes for 'The Times', Great Britain
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Entente cordiale, January 2018, Peter Brookes for 'The Times', Great Britain
Entente cordiale,
January 2018, Peter Brookes for 'The Times', Great Britain
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France's plans for euro-zone reform get a lukewarm German response, June 2018, Peter Schrank for 'The Economist', Great Britain
France's plans for euro-zone reform get a lukewarm German response,
June 2018, Peter Schrank for 'The Economist', Great Britain
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Emmanuel Macron calling Brexit campaign leaders 'liars', September 2018, Bob Moran for 'The Telegraph', Great Britain
Emmanuel Macron calling Brexit campaign leaders 'liars',
September 2018, Bob Moran for 'The Telegraph', Great Britain
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Davos 2019: No more heroes for the global elite,January 2019, James Ferguson for the Financial Times
Davos 2019: No more heroes for the global elite,
January 2019, James Ferguson for the Financial Times
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Four Horsewomen of the Democrat Apocalypse, Ben Garrison, July 2019, U.S.A.
Four Horsewomen of the Democrat Apocalypse,
Ben Garrison, July 2019, U.S.A.
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COMPARANDUM: William III of England,1688, Jan Wyck
COMPARANDUM: William III of England,
1688, Jan Wyck
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Pro-Brexit poster, 17 October 2019, England, United Kingdom
Pro-Brexit poster,
17 October 2019, England, United Kingdom
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The latest image in this series is unintentionally satirical. It is supposed to advocate for Brexit, that is viewed as the independence of Britain from the powers of continental Europe. Yet the horseman on this image is most certainly William III of England, who was a Dutchman by birth, and was invited by the Parliament who prefered him to the rightful British heir James II of England. One of the main reasons for this was that king James II believed in the divine right of kings, i.e. being uniquely positioned to rule directly from divine authority, like the monotheist will of God, thus bypassing the parliament.

The image on Brexit flyer is most certainly based on one of the portraits of Jan Wyck, a Dutch painter who has produced many equestrian portraits of William III of England.

Riders on rearing unicorns, the 21st century

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COMPARANDUM: Wild woman on a unicorn, 1473 - 1477, Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet, Germany
COMPARANDUM: Wild woman on a unicorn,
1473 - 1477, Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet, Germany
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COMPARANDUM: A woman abducted by a man on a unicorn, 1516, Albrecht Dürer, Germany
COMPARANDUM: A woman abducted by a man on a unicorn,
1516, Albrecht Dürer, Germany
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While depictions of the riders on rearing unicorns existed before the 21st century, their appearances on art objects were quite rare. Unicorns became popular in heraldry in the 15th century, where he was depicted as a horse with a goat’s cloven hooves and beard and a lion’s tail and, of course, a corn.

Interestingly, in the recent years we see a lot of different illustrations featuring riders on rearing unicorns. Most modern unicorns look like horses except their corns. There seem to be many more riders on rearing unicorns than riders on rearing horses in the illustrations space in the 21st century!

We see them on business-themed illustrations. This can be explained because recently the word 'unicorn' became a financial term. In 2013 venture capitalist Aileen Lee chose the mythical animal to represent a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion, thus highlighting the statistical rarity of such successful ventures.

The appearance of other unicorns is a bit more difficult to explain.

modern Amazons, 1917 – present

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Wassily Kandinsky’s Amazons, Russia, 1917 – 1918

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Wassily Kandinsky is famous for his abstract paintings, but he has also created a number of figurative works.

These Amazons painted in oil on glass ‒ a technique dating back to the traditions of Old German folk art, which Wassily Kandinsky studied in Murnau, Germany, in the late 1900s and returned to at the end of the 1910s. The most remarkable features of these works are its naive narrativeness, deliberate rejection of real scales and perspective, bright and flat painting of the figures and objects, equality between the major and minor details and the strongly expressed folkloric basis.

A Riding Amazon, 1917, Wassily Kandinsky, Russia
A Riding Amazon,
1917, Wassily Kandinsky, Russia
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Amazon with Blue Lions, 1918, Wassily Kandinsky, Russia
Amazon with Blue Lions,
1918, Wassily Kandinsky, Russia
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Amazon in the Mountains, 1918, Wassily Kandinsky, Russia
Amazon in the Mountains,
1918, Wassily Kandinsky, Russia
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COMPARANDUM: Equestrian portrait of Grand Duchess Catherine Alexeevna, G.C.Grooth, 1744
COMPARANDUM: Equestrian portrait of Grand Duchess Catherine Alexeevna,
G.C.Grooth, 1744
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Game of thrones, 2019

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Perhaps predictably, a number of recent horsemen were inspired by an extremely popular American fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones. It is quite interesting to juxtapose two images of horsewomen inspired by this television series.

Instagram art, the Game of Thrones theme, 2019, Olga Bazhutova, Moscow, Russia
Instagram art, the Game of Thrones theme,
2019, Olga Bazhutova, Moscow, Russia
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The Game of Thrones Horsemaster, Camilla Naprous, exercises Moses, 2019, photo by Anastasia Taylor-Lind
The Game of Thrones Horsemaster, Camilla Naprous, exercises Moses,
2019, photo by Anastasia Taylor-Lind
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The first one shows a very “instagrammable” amazon dressed in the colours of House Lannister. The image is part of a set photoshoot, the costume was provided by the equestrian photographer Olga Bazhutova.

The second is a portrait of the Game of Thrones horsemaster, Camilla Naprous, showing her work on the set of the drama series. Camilla has designed and choreographed all of the show’s wildly ambitious battle scenes—and taught dozens of actors how to ride on set. This photograph was shot by Anastasia Taylor-Lind, known for her images of women living in the hardships of their surroundings taken in Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria, Gaza, Afganistan, Maidan in 2014, Rohingya etc.

Hero Amazons of 2010s: from inspiration and dream to reality

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Elsa taming Nokk, Frozen 2-themed Christmas decoration, 2019, U.S.A.
Elsa taming Nokk, Frozen 2-themed Christmas decoration,
2019, U.S.A.
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I Have A Dream, 2014 or earlier, Kelly Tan, Malaysia
I Have A Dream,
2014 or earlier, Kelly Tan, Malaysia
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I would like to finish this work with three images. For me, they illustrate the quest for heroes of 2010s.

The first image shows an inspiration, Elsa, a fictional character who appears in Walt Disney’s animated film Frozen and its sequel Frozen II. She rides Nøkk, the Water spirit whom she had tamed. This is part of her quest to learn about the past and save her kingdom which she, of course, will succeed.

The second image shows a dream, the possibility of a future. It was created by Kelly Tan, a self-taught amateur iPhone artist. It shows her daughter when she was only 2 years old. The girl on this image faces the future with confidence, and her ambitions are supported by her mother. Perhaps this is what the image of a horseman (or a horsewoman or a horsechild) on a rearing horse is all about!

Stevana Salazar rides with Arlo Standing Bear, 26 August 2016, photo by Terray Sylvester, Standing Rock camp, Dakota, U.S.A.
Stevana Salazar rides with Arlo Standing Bear,
26 August 2016, photo by Terray Sylvester, Standing Rock camp, Dakota, U.S.A.
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The third image shows a real-world hero, Stevana Salazar of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas. On this photo, Stevana rides a rearing horse together with Arlo Standing Bear from Oglala Lakota tribe which is located in Allen, South Dakota. This photo was taken in the Sacred Stone Camp, a centre for cultural preservation and spiritual resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline, on 26 August 2016.
On 6 July 2020, their campaign has achieved an important milestone: a U.S. court ordered the shutdown of the Dakota Access oil pipeline on Monday over concerns about its potential environmental impact, a big win for the Native American tribes and green groups who fought the major pipeline’s route across a crucial water supply for years pending an environmental review.

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