Studies for the Trivulzio Monument

Studies for the Trivulzio Monument c1508-11

This series of studies is thought to be related to a funerary monument for the Condottiere Giangiacomo Trivulzio, a former enemy of the Sforza who became governor of Milan in 1511.

Leonardo’s design was for a grandiose equestrian statue, which was to feature a bronze horse and rider on top of an elaborately carved marble arch. The design of the base, which appears to have comprised of a sarcophagus within a grandiose structure that is highly reminiscent of a triumphal arch, has been the main pre-occupation of Leonardo’s in the three studies on the lower half of this sheet.

The assured handling of the pen and ink and the wonderfully vivacious quality of the studies of horse and rider indicates Leonardo’s confidence in the technique at this relatively late stage in his career, and the extent of his knowledge of equestrian form, which was the result of many years of intense study.

There is little evidence that the project got beyond the planning stage and Trivulzio actually lived on until 1518, when he died at Chartres just a few months before Leonardo.

  • Medium Pen and ink on light tan coloured paper
  • Size 27.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Location The Royal Collection

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