Beggar from a Saint Martin and Beggar Group
|Date||early 16th century|
|Medium, technique||bronze with green patina|
28 x 24 x 15 cm
|On view||Museum of Fine Arts, First Floor, European Art 1250-1600, Gallery XX|
Leonardo received several major sculptural commissions, but few traces of any such works remain, other than the enthusiastic accounts of contemporaries, the master’s own notes, and his numerous excellent preparatory drawings. Two of his large equestrian monuments ended in failure: the enormous clay model for an equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza (1401–1466) in Milan was destroyed even before casting, while a monument for Gian Giacomo Trivulzio (1440/1441−1518) did not proceed beyond the planning stage.
The Budapest Horse and Rider shows an affinity with the preparatory drawings for the now destroyed Battle of Anghiari, commissioned in 1503 for the great council hall in the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence. A note by the artist on one of the drawings indicates that tiny wax figures were used to compose the complex battle scene. The model for the Budapest Horse and Rider may have been such a wax statuette, which was then enlarged and cast into bronze during the sixteenth century, possibly by one of Leonardo’s students or followers.
This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.