Statues - Hither & Thither

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Piazza della Libertà

Cavallo di Leonardo

Leonardo's Horse

Nina Akamu

Vinci /  Cavallo di Leonardo   Vinci /  Cavallo di Leonardo


Leonardo's Horse (also known as Gran Cavallo) is a sculpture that was commissioned of Leonardo da Vinci in 1482 by Duke of Milan Ludovico il Moro, but not completed. It was intended to be the largest equestrian statue in the world, a monument to the duke's father Francesco. Leonardo did extensive preparatory work for it, but produced only a clay model, which was destroyed by French soldiers when they invaded Milan in 1499, interrupting the project.

In 1977, Charles C. Dent, a United Airlines pilot, began work to complete the unfinished sculpture in Allentown, Pennsylvania. His efforts to set up an organization to finance the project proved a difficult task that required more than 15 years. He founded a nonprofit organization named Leonardo da Vinci's Horse, Inc. (LDVHI) to support the project. Dent's projected cost for the horse came to nearly US $2.5 million. In 1988, LDVHI enlisted sculptor/painter Garth Herrick to begin part-time work on the horse. Dent died of Lou Gehrig's disease on December 25, 1994, leaving his private art collection to LDVHI, the sale of which brought more than $1 million to the fund. Peter C. Dent, his nephew, took on leadership of LDVHI, serving as the organization's President, CEO, and Trustee.

By 1997, Tallix Art Foundry, in Beacon, New York, the company contracted by LDVHI to cast the horse, had suggested bringing Nina Akamu, an experienced animal sculptor, on board to improve upon the Dent-Herrick horse. After several months. Nina Akamu determined that the original model could not be salvaged and concluded that a completely new sculpture needed to be executed.

Two full-size casts were made of Akamu's 24-foot (7.3 m) design. The primary cast was placed at the Hippodrome de San Siro in Milan, and unveiled in September 1999, and the second one a month later in Grand Rapids. Two smaller versions were made, one of 12 feet and one of 7 feet. This 7-foot version was donated in 2001 to the town of Vinci.


P.S. As you can see on the photos, it was raining very hard when we visited Vinci ☹


Sources & Information


Location (N 43°47'6" - E 10°55'29")

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Item Code: itto026; Photograph: 7 May 2017
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