signed: BARYE, numbered 058 and with indistinct ink numerals 49474 jul 130 underneath
bronze, dark brown-green patina
30 by 31.5cm., 11 3/4 by 12 3/8 in.
Credit Municipal de Dijon, F. Marcilhac expert, Maitre Philippe Sadde, Commisaire-Priseur, 22 Bronzes Exceptionnels de Antoine-Louis Barye, 8 March 1983, no.5
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Un cheval marchant, humant l'air de tous ses naseaux, levant fièrement la tête (Besse catalogue 1844)
For many commentators the Cheval Turc is the ultimate subject that above all others epitomises Barye's own personal and innovative sculptural vision. This is often explained by the fact that the model derives inspiration from both the Antique (primarily the Marcus Aurelius equestrian statue) and the Renaissance (notably a drawing by Leonardo). It also pays homage to the Romantic vision of his master Géricault whilst triumphantly presenting Barye's supreme grasp of anatomy and dramatic, tense power in the composition.
The success of the Cheval Turc persuaded Barye to issue four different versions of the model. The first with left leg raised was conceived probably sometime between 1837 and 1847, appearing in Barye's catalogue of circa 1847/8 (Rue de Boulogne). Its pendant with right leg raised followed in 1854-5. The other principal variations concerned not only the casting of the horse's chin (whether or not it adhered to the neck) but the different types of base, either modulated ovoid and naturalistically humped up at the front, or rectangular and architecturally stepped.