Scala/Art Resource, NY

The stately pose and naturalistic proportions of this equestrian statue of Erasmo da Narni popularly referred to as Gattamelata, or “Hon-eyed Cat”) were sculpted by the mid-15th-century Florentine artist Donatello, who had visited Rome as a youth and had studied the city’s ancient ruins, architecture and statues. When he received a commission to create a bronze statue of Erasmo Da Narni, commander-in-chief of the Venetian army in 1437, Donatello was inspired by the Marcus Aurelius statue he had seen in Rome. His 11-foot-tall bronze statue of Da Narni was placed on a marble plinth in the middle of Padua’s Piazza del Santo in 1453, in front of the Basilica of Sant’Antonio.