BY FRANK ARIVESO
Leonardo da Vinci “…the hand of an angel, the intellect of a scientist, and the soul of a romantic.”
—Kenneth MacLeish (Author, Leonardo da Vinci, A Man for all Ages)
Renaissance Master Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. This Renaissance genius has painted masterpieces greater than anything that had come before or since his time period, with two of the most influential paintings of their time: Last Supper and Mona Lisa. Leonardo spent decades doing meticulously detailed sketches of equestrian themed tributes for his friend and patron Charles d’Amboise, French Governor of Milan. A recent book, “Leonardo da Vinci and the Art of Sculpture”, has caused an international groundswell of interest in Leonardo’s sculptural works. However, no surviving works have ever been fully attributed to Leonardo…until now.
Lost in a Swiss vault for over 500 years, a sculpture titled “Horse and Rider” is now on display and for sale at Renaissance Galleries at The Shoppes at The Palazzo in Las Vegas. The “Horse and Rider” story began in 1985, when four businessmen traveled to Switzerland to inquire about the purchase of a museum. During their visit, they were introduced to a centuries old sculpture languishing in a vault. Hand-carved from beeswax, the piece measured 10” high, 8” long and 3” wide. The sculpture depicted a warhorse and its distinguished rider…and was purported to be by Renaissance Master, Leonardo da Vinci. Intrigued, the men contacted Dr. Carlo Pedretti, the world’s authority on the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci. Dr. Pedretti has written more than 50 books and more than 700 scholarly articles and essays on Leonardo. After an extensive examination of the wax, Dr. Padretti stated: “…this wax model is by Leonardo himself.” Dubbing the work “Horse and Rider”, Dr. Pedretti stated that the sculpture was possibly d’Amboise, because the resemblance between the sculpted rider and Andrea Solario’s portrait of Charles d’Amboise, housed in the Louve in Paris, is remarkable. Richard A. Lewis was a personal friend of one of the businessmen and purchased the mold and documents in 1987. Because he was involved in other business activities, the mold and story sat dormant for another 25 years before he decided to share this masterpiece with the world and make a small number of reproductions from the original casting for sale to the public, to raise money for the Salvation Army, to benefit people in need. “Horse and Rider” is cast in four patinas: Classic Bronze, Leonardo Classic, Verde, and Silver. To the best of everyone’s knowledge, “Horse and Rider” is the only sculpture in the world derived from a wax model by Leonardo himself, and is on permanent display in Las Vegas at the Renaissance Galleries at The Shoppes at the Palazzo.
THE MASTER CREATIONS OF Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo was a vegetarian who loved animals and despised war, yet he worked as a military engineer to invent advanced and deadly weapons. He sketched an armored vehicle that could carry eight men inside and allow them to fire weapons through holes in its walls. He drew and wrote about the “tanks” that we are familiar with today, 400+ years before first being used in combat during World War I. He also designed the cannon, machine gun, gliders, and drew plans for the first armored car in 1485! He also designed the cannon, a machine gun, gliders, turnspit for roasting meat, canal system to irrigate fields.
Fascinated by the human body, he cut up cadavers to learn about human anatomy. Around 1487, he created the Vitruvian Man, a drawing which illustrated several observations on the nature of an adult man’s body.
• The palm is the width of four fingers.
• The length of a man’s foot is one-sixth of his height.
• The length of a man’s outspread arms is the same as his height.
Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti were bitter rivals.
He was a procrastinating perfectionist who left many paintings unfinished and destroyed most of his work, yet enjoyed purchasing caged birds so that he could set them free.
He invented the bicycle 300 years before it appeared on the road, created an inflatable tube so people could float in the water, and invented scissors, the parachute, turnspit for roasting meat, and the canal system to irrigate fields.
Leonardo da Vinci had dyslexia. When he made notes on his inventions, it was all written in reverse, which made it hard for others to dig through his notes and steal his ideas.
Mona Lisa, the lady with the smile, was no easy feat. It took Leonardo about 10 years to paint her lips, alone. If you look closely at her face, you’ll see that she has neither eyelashes nor eyebrows. Leonardo probably painted her with them, but in the 500 years since, they have worn away or were removed during attempts to restore the portrait.