St. Mark's Basilica
Loose Bronze, 238 cm
The four horses that up until 1977 were displayed on the loggia of St Mark’s Basilica have been replaced by replicas and brought inside the church following a meticulous restoration. The group is the only example of a quadriga of all ancient statues that has survived intact. It was produced by lost-wax casting.
The most probable dating of the horses is from the Roman Imperial Period and can be placed between the second half of the 2nd and start of the 3rd century AC. It is believed that the horses were displayed in the building of the hippodrome of Constantinople, sent as a war chest for the fourth crusade (1204) by the Doge Enrico Dandolo in Venice.
The quadriga, which is the imperial symbol par excellence, is located on the Basilica’s façade and assumes a considerable political importance in underlining the role of undisputed guide of the Doge, identified with St Mark and with his Doge’s Chapel.