Walter Richard Sickert

The Horses of St. Mark's

c. 1901
Walter Sickert took his first trip to Venice in the winter of 1895. He visited briefly in the summer of 1900 and returned again for a longer stay from January to June 1901. The monuments of Venice provided an endless supply of subjects for his paintings, but his favourite was the basilica of San Marco and the four horses that decorate the balcony above its main portal. The four horses were sent to Doge Enrico Dandolo from Constantinople in 1204 as part of the booty from the Crusades, but their origins are disputed. They were held at the Arsenal until 1250, at which time they were transferred to the Basilica, where they remained until taken to Paris by Napoleon in 1798. In 1815 they returned to their place on the façade of San Marco. Restored and replaced by copies, the original bronzes are now inside the Basilica. The painting for which this drawing is a preparatory study is in a private collection in Scotland.
The Horses of St. Mark's
c. 1901
pen, brush and black ink with graphite and black chalk, touched with opaque yellow, on blue-grey laid paper
25.4 x 20.3 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1955
Accession number

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