Created in 1453 in Piazza del Santo, Padua, Italy, the bronze equestrian statue commemorates the life of Erasmo da Narni “Gattamelata” (Italian for “Speckled Cat”). Set on a high marble pedestal at 25 feet tall, it seems that Gattamelata has been watching over his city throughout the ages. Frozen in time in front of the central church in Padua, Sant’Antonio, the area was once a cemetery. The idea of having a equestrian sculpture representing a person during that time was a high honor and had mostly been given to royalty and legendary heroes. However, this 12 and 1/2 feet tall statue was one of the first to start a trend of memorializing military officials through equestrian monuments.
As you can see the left front hoof of the horse is raised above a small, round globe, symbolizing high status, power and control. Gattamelata died in his seventies, however this monument depicts the height of his military career years before.
Totaling over 37 feet tall, the sculpture also includes a set of false doors at the bottom of the base- a symbol of the underworld, although expensive research has shown that the monument was never used as a burial place. It is a timeless remembrance to an era long gone by. A time marked only by the art and stories that have been told throughout the centuries.