Galloping horse

Francesco Fanelli Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 542

In 1984, James David Draper assigned this statuette of a galloping horse with raised forelegs to Francesco Fanelli, linking it to his output in the 1630s in England, where the Florentine sculptor and caster spent almost a decade as sculptor to the court of Charles I.[1] Draper argued that a “horse full gallop” mentioned in an inventory of Fanelli statuettes at Welbeck Abbey, compiled by antiquarian George Vertue in 1736, likely referred to a bronze of the same composition as The Met’s.[2] Indeed, the Galloping Horse bears a resemblance to the animal in Fanelli’s group Cupid on a Horse in the V&A, a version of which belonged to Charles I.[3] Another example of the lone galloping horse, albeit sporting a more robust tail, is in the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig.[4] The latter is considered a cast after Fanelli’s model, a sensible attribution for our bronze as well.

Analysis by Richard Stone has revealed the excellent casting of the Galloping Horse, with its thin, even walls and minimal porosity.[5] The tail was cast separately, and its unthreaded tang simply driven into a hole.

(For key to shortened references see bibliography in Allen, Italian Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2022.)

1. On Fanelli, see Stock 2004; Seitun 2018.
2. Draper also tentatively identified our bronze as the one sold at Sotheby’s, London, March 23, 1971, lot 81. The Welbeck statuette was in the collection of Edward Harley, second earl of Oxford; according to Vertue, it had originally belonged to William Cavendish (1592–1676), first duke of Newcastle and the great-grandfather of Henrietta, Harley’s wife. See Draper in Linsky 1984, p. 161; Leithe-Jasper and Wengraf 2004, p. 204, cat. 19; Vertue 1934, p. 110.
3. V&A, A.37-1952; see Pope-Hennessy 1953; Howarth 1989, p. 94, no. 3, fig. 44. See also Warren 2016, vol. 2, p. 434, fig. 100.2.
4. Berger and Krahn 1994, p. 134, no. 96. An ivory Galloping Horse in Vienna, similar to the present one, has been tentatively ascribed to Leonhard Kern (Siebenmorgen 1988, p. 178, cat. 76).
5. R. Stone/TR, June 22, 2011.

Galloping horse, Francesco Fanelli (Italian, born Florence 1577, active Genoa (1605–30) and England (1632–39)), Bronze, probably British

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