The art world has long recognized horses as symbols of perfection and power, and we often witness real life examples of those traits in horse racing arenas. In fact, a 3-year old thoroughbred that goes by the name of Art Collector, reminds us of numerous awe-inspiring horse art collections.
Art Collector made news this week after winning the “Runhappy Ellis Park Derby” in Kentucky last Sunday, August 09, 2020. The win guaranteed the 3-year old colt its entry to the much awaited “2020 Kentucky Derby” that was postponed and rescheduled to take place next month on September 05, 2020. As an aside, readers can read details about Art Collector’s recent triumph at Past the Wire (https://pastthewire.com/category/horse-racing-news/),
On our part, we’ll give readers a quick glimpse at one of the most revered 19th century horse art collections in Europe, “The Horse Tamers;” a classic example of equine power and perfection forever remembered through art.
”The Horse Tamers” by Baron Peter Klodt
“The Horse Tamers” is a series of horse sculptures created by Baron Peter Klodt von Jurgensburg to depict indomitable equine energy. They are horse sculptures presented in a logical sequence, which by the title alone, reflect the stages in which a man has to struggle, before the animal allows itself to submit to domestication.
Baron Peter Klodt, was a former artillery officer known to have great affinity for horses as manifested by his exceptional execution of details in his bronze horse sculptures. As horses were also symbols of might and power in many European kingdoms in earlier periods, Baron Kondt’s sculptures were a favorite in the courts of Russian Emperor Nikolay I, whose reign lasted from 1825 to 1855.
The series of horse sculptures had started even before it became known as “The Horse Tamers” a.k.a. Kondt Project. In the year 1830, Baron Kondt crafted a pair of horse statues at the request of Emperor Nikolay, which Kondt called “Youth Taking a Horse by the Bridle” and “Horse with Walking Youth.”
Emperor Nikolay I was said to have been very impressed by the sculptures that he proudly sent them as gifts; one for King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia and the other for King Ferdinand II of Sicily. The gift sent to the Sicilian monarch can be seen in Naples, still adorning the front of the Royal Palace. Nonetheless, plaster cast copies of the two sculptures remained in St. Petersburg.
In 1851, the “The Horse Tamers” of the Kondt Project went underway in St. Petersburg, to which the plan was to have the artist’s horse sculptures mounted as landmarks at the four corners of the Anichkov Bridge. The project saw the bronze casting of the plaster cast copies of the statues sent as gifts to Prussia and Sicily. To complete the horse tamer theme, Kondt sculpted two more horse statues.
Up to this day, “The Horse Tamers” horse art collection is still lined up at the Anichkov Bridge, and is considered one of the most recognizable monuments in Russia as the set of equine sculpture remains strikingly beautiful.