Leonardo Da Vinci's Life


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Leonardo Da Vinci Sculptures

"Art is never finished, only abandoned."
--Leonardo da Vinci

When you think of Leonardo da Vinci, certain images automatically come to mind, such as The Mona Lisa, The Vitruvian Man, and The Last Supper, just to name a few. These are some of da Vinci’s famous art pieces. However, not only did da Vinci have a talent for art, but he also had a flare for sculpture. Leonardo da Vinci sculptures may not be as easily identifiable as his artwork, but you may be surprised to find that you are actually familiar with the sculptures described below.

Sketch of a HorseDa Vinci’s Horse in Bronze
In 1482, the Duke of Milan commissioned da Vinci to build the world’s biggest horse sculpture in honour of his father and to stand guard over the Duke’s castle. Once completed, the horse was to stand 24 feet high. Da Vinci, a consummate perfectionist, spent a number of years making sketches to get the details just right. Eventually, he sculpted a full-size clay model which was to be later cast in bronze.

During this particular period in time, the French army was a threat, and bronze was needed to build canons in order to protect the city. Hence, da Vinci’s bronze horse would be put on hold. French soldiers used the clay model as target practice!

The sketches that da Vinci left behind eventually turned up centuries after the artist’s death. A retired American pilot was fascinated by the story of the bronze horse, and founded a non-profit organization that would finish the Leonardo da Vinci sculpture. In 1999, the organization unveiled the 24 foot tall bronze statue in Milan, Italy, and a month later, a second statue was unveiled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, bringing da Vinci’s beloved sculpture to life.

Il Cavallo
Da Vinci had yet another horse sculpture that he would never see completed. In 1506, he began drawing sketches for a sculpture similar to his massive bronze horse commissioned by the Duke of Milan. This sculpture, which came to be known as “Il Cavallo”, was meant for Giacomo Trivulzio. It garners less attention from the art world for it only exists through the multitude of drawings left behind by da Vinci.

According to da Vinci’s drawings and sketches, two problems had yet to be figured out regarding “Il Cavallo”. First, he needed to fill the space where the belly of the horse was to be, and second, he needed to settle on the position of the rider. Although his drawings always showed the rider on the horse’s back, the rider was meant to have been cast separately from the horse. Unfortunately, this Leonardo da Vinci sculpture never came to fruition.


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