The Horse in Bronze
The Museum of the Racing Horses in Maisons-Laffitte whose purpose is to promote the Horse in Arts proposes a very impressive exhibition of equestrian sculptures.
The Race Horse Museum
Located in the castel of Maisons-Laffitte, the museum was opened in 1990, it presents a permanent exhibition of racing history and organizes regularly temporary exhibitions.
de Maisons - 78600 Maisons-Laffitte
of the historical most important piece of the exhibition :
Subject: " Prancing Arabian Stallion" (1750)
Dimensions (H. x L.) 52 x 52 cm 20 ½ x 20 ½"
Most probably a unique piece, on original « Sienna Yellow » marble base.
Exceptional example of a perfect chiselling and skin surface, proving that is not a commercial work. Patination: Superb medal bronze gilt, fire patination, perfect state.
Certificate: Professor Mario Scalini, director of the Stibert Museum, Florence and previously head of the bronze department of the famous Bargello Museum of Florence, Italy.
In his certificate Prof. Scalini demonstrates extensively that the above described horse was commissioned around 1750 by the Court to Camillo Paderni, painter, sculptor and chief restorer, after the famous cavallo della quadriga di Ercolano - 6 high - which was discovered in Herculanum and is today at the National Archeologic Museum of Naples.
A brief piece of History about the horse of Herculanum:
In 1739, Charles III de Bourbon - King of Naples and Sicily - ordered the search of the remains at Herculanum, a city destroyed in 79 AC by the eruption of the Vesuvio volcano together with Pompeii. Because Herculanum was further from the volcano than Pompeii, almost totally burned down by the enormous heat of the lava, he discovered, splattered around the forum, the remains of a large bronze honorary quadriga (4 horses/2 wheeler cart, used for parades by the Greeks and the Romans). Due to the numerous bronze fragments and their poor quality, it was impossible to reconstruct immediately the quadriga. Part of these bronze fragments were used to make medallions in memory of Charles III. Another part was conveyed to Camillo Paderni, who restored and kept the Herculanum bronze. He could only recreate one horse, over 6 foot tall.
Documentation: 2nd part (p.257) of Le Antichita di Ercolano Exposte, part 1-VIII, Naples, 1757-1792.
Conclusion: With the highest probability, the illustrated horse called Prancing Arabian Stallion after the Herculanum Quadriga Horse is a unique piece and was made by Camillo Paderni himself for the King Charles III de Bourbon.
Origin: The bronze was bought recently from a highly reputable Dutch antique dealer and expert, who bought it in 1990 from an ex-Italian ambassador in The Netherlands, which claims that this masterpiece is been in his family estate for many generations.
Exhibitions: The piece was exposed and its authenticity recognised by the international expert comities of:
Olympia 2000, London , England
TEFAF, Maastricht 1996 and 1998 , Antiekbeurs 1988 and 1989, Delft, Holland
Kunst und Antiquitaten Messe Munich 1996, Koln 1998 and 1999, Dusseldorf 1998, Germany.
It will be one of the star sculpture exhibit of the Histoire du Cheval dans lArt, Musee du Cheval, Maison Lafitte (Paris), France, to be held in Autumn 2001.