European Art
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: François Girardon, French, 1628–1715

Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV

ca. 1685

Wax and wood

81.3 x 29.2 x 59.7 cm (32 x 11 1/2 x 23 1/2 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Fosburgh, B.A. 1933, M.A. 1935
1959.56
Large-scale equestrian statues were always preceded by smaller studies in malleable material, such as this wax figure. In 1685 François Girardon was commissioned to create a twenty-three-foot-tall bronze statue of King Louis XIV on horseback (erected in 1699 and destroyed during the French Revolution a century later) and used this maquette to experiment with attire and poses. The king is represented as a Roman emperor in antique armor and sandals but with a voluminous seventeenth-century wig. The final statue showed slight modifications from this work, indicating that the Yale University Art Gallery’s wax model was created at an early stage of Girardon’s preparations. The trunk underneath the horse’s belly gives extra support to the fragile material. It was not present in the final bronze.
Culture: 
French
Period: 
17th century
Classification: 
Sculpture
Status: 
On view
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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