Ara Pacis, 13-9 BCE Procession of the Imperial Family
Although they did borrow many of their styles, the Romans did not copy everything from the Greeks. The
equestrian monument, in which a leader is shown triumphantly riding a horse, is a type of sculpture first
developed during the imperial period. The sculpture sets the ruler above the viewer’s eye level and conveys
the ruler’s power through his effortless control of the animal. The equestrian monument to Marcus
Aurelius is an excellent example of this type of sculpture. Here the emperor is shown as a benevolent ruler,
addressing the people and wearing a tunic rather than military regalia. His mount is controlled by a mere
touch of the reigns, and a vanquished enemy originally lay beneath the horse’s raised hoof. One of the few
bronzes that survive from antiquity, the monument of Marcus Aurelius influenced many later artists.
Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius, c. 175.
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