Charlemagne

Medieval French

replica: from the Louvre, Paris

date of the original: c. 10th to 11th centuries AD

provenance of the original: from the Metz Cathedral Treasure; now in the Louvre, Paris

description: Small equestrian statuette: rider with orb in right hand. Plaster replica with black and gold bronze-like finish; bronze original. On base: height 28 cm, width 18 cm, depth 10 cm.

The Emperor of the West, Charles the Great, or “Charlemagne,” was consecrated as Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Eve in AD 800. Therewith he meant to resuscitate what remained of the Roman Empire in the West. The way Charlemagne is represented on this tenth or eleventh AD century equestrian statuette was directly inspired by and actually copied from the equestrian statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (see: Coins of Marcus Aurelius), which is still standing in Rome. In addition to the imperial orb, this statuette of Charlemagne also held a sword. His garment is, however, medieval.