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Montecavallo divine twins


The large square in front of the Quirinal palace commissioned by Sixtus V seems designed by a rationalist architect who wanted to enrich it with two imposing statues of horses and riders with purest lines.
Instead the statues of horses and their riders have been there a long time before on the Quirinal Hill was built the residence of the Popes; while still on the square facing the entry of "Vigna d'Este" and all that remained of the Baths of Constantine.
The statues representing the Dioscuri, the mythological knights sons of Jupiter who saved the Roman army at Lake Regillo; they are Roman copies of the second or third century of original Greek of the fifth century BC believed for a long time copies of works by famous artists such as on the base are the words Opus Fidiae and Opus Praxitelis.
Behind the inscriptions on the bases lies the enigma of divine twins Montecavallo: are really copies of works by Phidias and Praxiteles? In medieval times and later in the Renaissance nobody investigated on the artistic content and origin of the marble group which in itself was an unexpected good because, to the delight of the eyes, was still intact; However it was only with the time you got to understand what the statues represented and who had realized them.
In "Mirabilia Urbis Romae," perhaps the most widespread and note medieval Rome guide, was reported that the inscriptions were the names of the two characters; it was richer and more imaginative the description in the "Einsielden Itinerary" of the seventh century that indicated the statues as portraits of two philosophers, Phidias and Praxiteles, who would give advice to Tiberius and would have liked the statues dedicated to them were the marble rather than bronze because they knew that the bronze statues could be recast.
Fortunately, the philology studies in the sixteenth century made it clear that Phidias and Praxiteles were two great Greek sculptors but they lived in different periods and therefore could not have worked together.
Only in the nineteenth century to merit the archaeologist Furtwängler it was discovered that there was a Praxiteles the elder, grandfather of Praxiteles, who could have worked with Fidia. However discovering that artists could have worked together does not automatically makes the opera performers; the statues are only Roman copies made according to the iconography dictated by Phidias and Praxiteles.
Pliny the Elder tells about a bronze naked giant, the work of Phidias, who had been brought to Rome and then from that they were made of marble copies where the subject were the twins protectors of Rome with their beautiful horses, the latter almost identical to horses that Phidias created for the Parthenon.
The two groups, each formed from a horse and rider, were placed at the entrance of the Baths of Constantine that occupied the slopes of the Quirinal Hill, and even when the baths were only ruins, their grandeur, they are 5.60 meters tall, has saved them from the burying and from any temptation to be transported elsewhere.
Since the Middle Ages all visitors of Rome have been able to admire them in the same place where they are to this day and even the Quirinal Hill was called Montecavallo just because of their presence.
The position where they are today is to designed by Flaminio Vacca for Sixtus V, integrated from the amendments made in 1783 by Carlo Antinori to Pius VI ...



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by M.L. ©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (Ed 1.0 - 10/03/2017)