Liberty Act by Gaetano Ciniselli


Italian-born Gaetano Ciniselli (1815−81) was a circus equestrian and horse trainer who in 1877 founded the Ciniselli Circus (now the Bolshoi Saint Petersburg State Circus). The circus was housed in the first stone structure in Russia purpose-built for circus. In this painting, Ciniselli is shown performing the liberty horse act, which was an invariable part of the circus program until his death in 1881. The term "liberty horse act" refers to an act in which the horses are directed with verbal commands and are not mounted or held by reins; the horses are "at liberty." The Ciniselli Circus horse stables consisted of 100 stalls, with a special area for keeping ponies. The painting, dating from 1877, is by E. Martinik, about whom little is known.

Last updated: February 12, 2016