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The Bamberg Horseman

Posted by
MadScientist (Düsseldorf, Germany) on 7 October 2009 in Art & Design.

This is probably one of the most portrayed horsemen ever. This statue was created around 1225; its meaning is still unclear. Because of the horseman's crown it is supposed that he represents a king (which would exclude the possibility that he is a German emperor). Because of the baldachin above his head he might be a saint; there are various crowned saints (Stephan I, Heinrich II) in history, but if he represents a real or spiritual person is still an open question.

Remarkable are the horseshoes: they are the first depiction of horseshoes in history. Another oddity is the 'green man' (a face made of stony Acanthus leaves) that you can discover in the right-most position of the base the horseman is placed on.

Nazi Germany of course abused the horseman's classical beauty, seeing sort of a German ideal in it. But I doubt that this definitely dainty and civilian horseman would have been a devotee of megalomaniac power politics and genocide.

This is no replica; it is the original statue from the 13th century. The only difference to its appearance in former times is the missing colour. Here you can see a scientific reconstruction of how the Bamberg Horseman looked many centuries ago.

Linerberry from Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand

Very impressive!!! You have really caught the light perfectly!!!

7 Oct 2009 5:14am

@Linerberry: This is also due to the perfect location of this statue. There are many others in this church, but none of them is illuminated by the daylight like this one.

António Pires from Lisbon, Portugal

Thanks for showing. Not easy to photograph due to the light available.

7 Oct 2009 10:13am

@António Pires: This was only possible due to the very bright sunlight coming from outside. The exposure meter of my camera had a hard time! :-)

akarui from Kagoshima, Japan

They might have done some renovation on it. Very different from the origine color one that you give by link. Do they plan to give him back some colours?

7 Oct 2009 11:42am

@akarui: No, I don't think so. That would be way too disturbing for the folks there, I think. :-)

Ronnie 2¢ from Atlantic Shores, United Kingdom

Some fascinating history here and the unknown is always so tantalizing . . not sure I am convinced by the color reconstruction, though : it needed to be far more subtle, I think

7 Oct 2009 12:35pm

@Ronnie 2¢: Depends, when you think of ancient cities and their original colours that were so different from the white remnants we know today, I'm not so sure if the horseman's colours were that subtle. We will never know.

B.Held from Santa Fe, United States

A fantastic composition.

7 Oct 2009 2:08pm

@B.Held: Thanks heaps, Brittany!

MARIANA from Waterloo, Canada

BRILLIANT !!! Light is outstanding !

7 Oct 2009 4:05pm

@MARIANA: Shot at high noon! Really. :-)

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

The way it looks today is much better than how it used to be. Nice light and shadow here.

7 Oct 2009 4:13pm

@Steven: I think I prefer this colourless mode, too. :-)

Ted from South Wales, United Kingdom

great capture - fascinating history and commentary.

7 Oct 2009 7:16pm

@Ted: Thanks, Ted! I really like these puzzles between religion and art.

Batkoï from Salon de Provence, France

what a view !

7 Oct 2009 7:58pm

@Batkoï: Yes, he's a remarkable man. :)

JoeB from Brampton, Canada

Very delicate and a fine smooth finish.

8 Oct 2009 12:50am

@JoeB: He's no Westerner. :-)

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

I prefer the uncolored statue but unlike Ronnie I've a tendency to think it may really have been that gaudy. We take color for granted now, but back then it might well have been considered a powerful display of wealth and imagery. One of you best photos btw, and I think the horsemen looks Teutonic.

8 Oct 2009 2:14am

@Twelvebit: He has a knobby nose! :o) Thanks for the praise!

Sriram from Chennai, India

Amazing lights and nicely framed too.. great shot.. well done!!

8 Oct 2009 6:45am

@Sriram: Thanks heaps, Sriram!

Japanalia from Yokohama, Japan

I saw it in colour....and I prefer the way it looks in your shot! Very beautiful capture in that tantalizing light!

8 Oct 2009 8:04am

@Japanalia: The colour version would be only second choice for me too. :-) Thanks so much!

Evelyne Dubos from Le Mans, France

Like how the light shows well to advantage the statue and gives a lot of relief. Well done.

8 Oct 2009 8:06pm

@Evelyne Dubos: Thanks so much, Evelyne!