Strongly built small horse. Wide and large intelligent eyes. Frozen in a Piaffe which requires extreme discipline on both the rider and horses part. Simple tack- embroidered rug, thin bridle with large metal circlets. Mane and tail constructed to demonstrate movement in the animal because the hair is flowing backwards, and tail is up.. His horse is not framing perfectly, and has its mouth opened which shows some freedom in the animals movement, which the human figure does nothing to correct in his pose. The horse in real scale could be around 14 hands. Most breeds in ancient Roman times were large ponies. . The horse also bends slightly around the mans legs with its opposite shoulder sticking out, head craning towards the right, and haunches swung to the right a bit.
Description of rider
Man, large compared to horse. Possibly seperately cast because of size, or to appear mightier than the beast underneath. Simple attire. What looks to be somewhat war garb, with tunic belted, and a cape flowing down the haunches of the horse. Sandals lace up the legs of the man , but do not cover the top of the feet or toes. Philosophers beard growing on chin, shows that this man is very educated and a scholar. There are no hard lines on his face, and he has a full head of hair which could mean that he was portrayed as younger, around thirty probably in this piece. There are no lines between his brows which mean that he does not frown, could stand for little stress in his lifetime. Or the sculpture merely made this statue into the ideal man.
The lack of lies, frown, grimace, and relaxed posture can say that this emperor had little trouble during his time of reign, and was a good emperor. His relaxed hand motion on his outstretched arm can be looked at as an act of mercy. He does not have the thumbs up or thumbs down of judgement, merely a “let it pass” air. . His stance with his horse make him seem very godly, and powerful, but not cruel. His garb drapes over his shoulder which shows a man of mature age, and high stature in the army. Aurelius’ body is built, but not exagaratingly so. It is that of a normal, ideal sized man, with laid back shoulders, and a straight back.
General description of piece overall
Cast bronze with green that looks as if it drips down the piece from ages of air erosion. Angle of horses head and Aurelius’ head are perfectly aligned and facing the same direction.
History of rider
Last of the five good emperors.
Generals rode horses that were around 15 hh, but judging the size of the two beings involved in this sculpture, Aurelius rides a small horse. Possibly to spread equality throughout the ranks of military.