Glossary

Equestrian Portrait

Equestrian portraits show the subject mounted on horseback.

Sculpted versions were made during Antiquity, the most famous surviving example being the Roman statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, in the Campidoglio, Rome.

In later centuries this portrait type acquired chivalric overtones (the very word chivalry, that is, knighthood, literally means horseman). Such portraits have always been associated with sitters of high status, with the implication that a noble warrior or ruler was being depicted. Later, people further down the social scale aspired to these associations.

Painting
Anthony van Dyck
about 1637-8
Anthony van Dyck: 'Equestrian Portrait of Charles I'