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Sebastián’s El Caballito Sculpture

Like any good public sculpture, artist Sebastián’s enormous yellow horsey has always been controversial.

Charles IV as originally cast by Manuel Tolsá in 1803. It’s still the second largest cast bronze statue in the world.

Intended to replace an enormous statue of Charles IV now in front of the National Museum of Art, Sebastián created more than just a modernist interpretation. He set an entirely new tone for the square, and people have never stopped arguing about it.

Made from steel plates, coated in a brilliant yellow enamel, El Caballito is officially titled Cabeza de caballo, literally “Head of a horse.”  At 28 meters (92 ft) tall, it’s a nothing short of spectacular. The space it occupies had been set aside for Manuel Tolsá’s equally epic and equally controversial statue of Charles IV that had finally been relocated there in 1852. That one went to the plaza, since renamed for the sculptor, Manuel Tolsá Plaza, outside the National Museum of Art in 1979.

Dedicated on January 15, 1992, Sebastián’s horse can only be said to have replicated the 30+ years of arguments for and against Tolsa’s original. In every other way, Sebastián’s work is orginal.