Metal Casting from Leonardo da Vinci’s 500-year-old ‘Horse and Rider’ Sculpture Unveiled
A story you might have missed by Eric Pfeiffer, of Yahoo! News reports that a metal casting of a 504-year-old Leonardo da Vinci beeswax sculpture was unveiled in Los Angeles. "Horse and Rider" is the only known three-dimensional piece of art created by Leonardo to still exist in the world and one of only about two dozen authenticated Leonardo works in the world today.
"It's a momentous occasion," Art Encounter's Rod Maly told Yahoo News before the unveiling at the historic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. "The beeswax sculpture has been in private collections for nearly 500 years, so it has not been promoted. Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of mankind."
The original beeswax sculpture measures 12 inches high, 12 inches long and 7 inches wide, and is believed to have been intended as the model for a much larger sculpture. The Renaissance military figure riding upon a horse was created in 1508 by Leonardo as a gift for his friend and benefactor, French military governor Charles d'Amboise. After Leonardo's death in 1519, the beeswax sculpture was given to his apprentice Francesco Mezi and is believed to have remained with his family in Italy until the 1930s when it was moved to Switzerland for safekeeping.
In 1985, American businessman Richard A. Lewis purchased the beeswax sculpture but says he wasn't aware of its historic value. "In all honesty, I was very naïve to what I had," Lewis told Yahoo News during an interview before the new bronze casting's unveiling. That same year, Lewis contacted Dr. Carlo Pedretti, widely considered the world's foremost living authority on Leonardo and professor emeritus of art history and the Chair of Leonardo Studies at UCLA. Dr. Pedretti studied and eventually authenticated the beeswax sculpture.
Above: Mold of da Vinci's Horse and Rider made from the beeswax scupture
"It is a magnificent piece of art and I'd like to have as many people as possible be able to appreciate it," Lewis told Yahoo News. He said he eventually plans to donate the original beeswax sculpture and master casting to a museum.