This celebrated drawing was made by the Florentine painter, sculptor, engraver, and goldsmith Antonio Pollaiuolo. The sixteenth-century historian Giorgio Vasari, who owned the sheet and may have added the brown wash around the figures, seems to have described this drawing in his biography of Pollaiuolo (Lives of the Artists) of 1568. It represents a design for the bronze equestrian monument commissioned by Ludovico Sforza (1480-94, de facto ruler of Milan; 1494-99, Duke of Milan) in honor of his father, Francesco Sforza. This sheet (as well as its pendant, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, inv. 1908.168) could have served as a presentation drawing for Ludovico, who may have arranged a competition between the artist and Leonardo da Vinci, who arrived at the Milanese court in the early 1480s. Leonardo, who won the commission, produced studies for the project from the early 1480s to the late 1490s, though the ill-fated monument was never completed.
Inscription: Annotated in pen and brown ink at right in a sixteenth-century hand: Gatamel
Giorgio Vasari, Florence, Rome and Arezzo; Simon Meller, Budapest and Paris (?); Philip Hofer, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Robert Lehman, New York.
Licia Ragghianti Collobi. Il libro de' disegni del Vasari. Vol. 2 vols., Florence, 1974, vol. 2, p. 78, p. 104, fig. 209
Walter Liedtke. The Royal Horse and Rider: Painting, Sculpture, and Horsemanship, 1500–1800. New York, 1989, p. 164, no. 26.
Carmen C. Bambach. Drawing and Painting in the Italian Renaissance Workshop: Theory and Practice, 1300–1600. Cambridge, 1999, pp. 57, 95, 96, 394 n. 149, no. 86.
Alison Wright. The Pollaiuolo Brothers: The Arts of Florence and Rome. New Haven, 2005, pp. 137-143, 510-511. at. 18. Fig. 105.
"Dürer to de Kooning: 100 master drawings from Munich
". Exh. cat., 2012, pp. 24-25, no. 3.