The ‘whys’ of equestrian statues
Quotes from the book ‘From Marcus Aurelius to Kim Jong-il’
Most often, the reason to erect an equestrian statue is to glorify the sitter, a process not infrequently initiated by the sitter him or herself. Leaders love to be seen on a horse, even today. I refer to recent pictures of Vladimir Putin, stripped to the waist, and of Nicolas Sarkozy, both on horseback. Also, to the statues of dictators in countries such as North Korea (Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang, unveiled in 2012) and Turkmenistan, where a golden equestrian statue portraying President Berdimuhamedow was erected in Ashgabat in 2015.
…………………Of course, this is a generalization. There are also statues of charming and decent people, erected by admirers, but most equestrian statues are intended to impress. After all, one of the characteristics of a life-size equestrian statue is that the spectator has to look up, all the more so if the statue is placed on a pedestal. A good statue radiates authority. It creates a distance between the viewer and the person portrayed. It is the distance between the foot soldier and the officer.
…………….I distinguish the following groups of riders of equestrian statues:
2. Military leaders
3. Freedom fighters
4. National symbols