Equestrian Traditions


Images: Logo/Flag City of Jacksonville, Jacksonville’s sculpture of Jackson, New Orlean’s Sculpture of Jackson

You might have noticed the Equestrian Statue of Andrew Jackson, Our “BoldNewCityOfTheSouth’s” Namesake. He is posed jauntily tipping his hat to you or some runaway slave or indian he was about to kill as he crossed the St. John’s river at Cows ford on his trusty pony. The city loves this memorialization so much they have adopted this image as their official logo, which appears on letterhead and even on the cast iron sewer caps. I don’t know the artist who sculpted this but they were not very well informed in the history of iconic equestrian symbolism nor were they very well trained in anatomic proportion. First things first. There is a long tradition of symbolism in memorial art. I grew up in the shadow of Washington DC and went to College in Richmond, VA where there are plenty of fine examples of Monuments to Generals on horseback. This is what I’ve learned about the symbolic stance of the horse as it pertains to the heroic status of its rider:
-Both of the horse’s front legs in the air means the rider died in battle, on the battlefield.
-One of the horse’s front legs raised means the rider died of wounds suffered on the battlefield.
-All of the horses feet on the ground means the rider was in some battle, at some time, but died home in bed.
Jackson was in a few battles, made lots of enemies, owned lots of slaves, killed lots of indians and was the first Prez to have had an assassination attempt (failed), he died drunk at home, as far as we know.
Insofar as his involvement in The City of Jacksonville, he was accused of selling land he did not own in the Florida territory and this spot was nothing but a wet bog on his road to power.
I don’t know who sculpted that statue but they got a few things wrong, not to mention the anatomical fact that Jackson is far too big for that pony.

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About Brett Waller

Illustration, Concept Design, Interactive Theme Design, Art Direction, Production Design, Sculpture/Installation.
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