African Man on Horseback Combating a Lion
Artist/maker unknown, Italian. Perhaps based on a model by Giovanni Bolognaor an artist in his circle, Flemish (active Florence), 1529 - 1608.
This well-known bronze, once thought to have issued from an artist influenced by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 1400s, is now recognized as dating from around 1600. The rough surface of the group has been interpreted as the result of a failed cast that was not completed. Another proposal is that this bronze was cast to preserve a damaged model for a sculpture. Artists from the circle of Giovanni Bologna experimented with compositions like this one, of animals in violent combat, and the sculptor himself devised preparatory models for such groups. The dynamic model for the present group must have been preserved and admired since several versions-missing various elements but completely finished-were cast in Florence probably in the early seventeenth century.
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