Emanuel Philibert duke of Sovay, also called Testa di Ferro (Chambéry 1528 – 1580 Turin), was the only child of Charles III of Savoy and his wife Beatrix of Portugal that survived childhood. Emanuel Philibert succeeded Charles III after his death. In 1536, though, he lost his land under the French occupation. Nevertheless, Emanuel Philibert stayed loyal to the house of Habsburg. In 1551 he lead the defense of Barcelona, withstanding the French and earning his sobriquet “Ironhead”. Later in 1551 Emanuel Philibert was awarded the title duke of Savoy, despite the fact that he did not have a duchy. From 1555 to 1559 Emanuel Philibert was governor of the Austrian Netherlands, in service of his cousin Filips II. Emanuel Philibert duke of Savoy was a contemporary of William of Orange.
Carlo Marochetti (1805 – 1867)
Carlo (Charles) baron Marochetti was born in Turin in 1805, but grew up in Paris as a French citizen. After he finished the Lycée Napoleon Marochetti was educated at the École des Beaux Arts. He also spent some time in Rome. His first tutors in sculpture were François Bosio and Antoine-Jean Gros. From 1829 onwards Marchetti is gaining appreciation. Famous monuments of Marochetti can be found in England (among others, Richard Lionheart near Westminster), France (Théophile de la Tour d’Auvergne in Carhaix) and Italy (Emanuel Philibert on the Piazza san Carlo in Turin).
The commission for the equestriam statue of Emanuel Philibert came from king Charles Albert of Savoy, as a tribute to his ancestor, and to commemorate the military audacity of his dynasty. Marochetti made the statue in 1838 in Paris. It was his first major assignment and his first equestrian statue. Before the statue was put on its intended position in Turin, it was exhibited on the courtyard of the Louvre. This work was the breakthrough of Marochetti as a sculptor. After this assignment others followed, like the equestrian statues of the Duke of Wellington and Richard Lionheart.
The popularity of the statue of Emanuel Philibert led to the production of reduced copies, like this one, as soon as 1838.