It is an extraordinary journey through time, and even an ocean, to a tired renaissance horse and rider. And for the lovers of Leonardo da Vinci, their journey still today. There is a another masterpiece to look and see. But catch it if you can! Because it will not sit still.
The artist from the centre of Vinci, Italy, known for it’s most famous for his paintings, “The Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” produced so much more.
“Before Leonardo was an artist, he was a sculptor, and that is where he actually got his training as a sculptor,” said Rod Maly, a Las Vegas-based art dealer who is the owner of a rare image that eventually comes out of the hands of Leonardo. “And it is a remarkable story about how we have it,” he added.
The bronze of a horse and rider, is now making its way around the world. It was cast from a wax model attributed to Leonardo, who in the early 1500’s, but that, as far as experts know, was never made into a statue. The rider was thought that the French governor of Milan, at that time, Charles d’amboise.
Leonardo was cast out from his native Tuscany, a common legend goes, because he is a homosexual, which was illegal in those days. He presented himself as a jack-of-all-trades to the Duke of the competitive region of Milan. His cv is listed in great detail, his skills as an arms designer. Only at the end of his cv, he mentioned that in times of peace, he could also paint and decorate. And there was so much more.
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Maly told Fox News, “He was so far ahead of its time. He was the inventor of the wetsuit, the helicopter (at least the original prototype), the machine gun. Much of his time was spent as an inventor, a medical man.”
Leonardo’s coronation in Milan proved to be, in fact, a painting, the skills that he flogged least. “The Last Supper”, a fresco of the Duke commissioned him to paint in the refectory of a monastery in what is now the centre of Milan, attracts huge crowds, day after day. Shortly after he completed “The Last Supper” in the direction of the end of the 1400’s, the French invasion, and Leonardo fled. But he returned to Milan, this time at the invitation of the French.
After his death all his possessions were left to his assistant and companion, Francesco Melzi. Among the works left behind, that wax model for what is believed was intended as a monument for Charles D’amboise.
The deterioration in time, the passed of the relatives of his heir, offspring, and went from a private collection to the other, to Switzerland for safekeeping during the second world War. In 1985, a British arts and antiques dealer bought it from the Swiss man whose family had bought the Melzi collection. It was Leonardo scholar Carlo Pedretti, who led the drive to identify the wax work as a real Leonardo, who eventually convinced the British dealer to buy it. This was after Pedretti got pictures of him published in a book of Leonardo’s sketches, the property of Queen Elizabeth, raises the profile of the rapidly deteriorating work of art.
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In 1985, a mold of the infected bees wax model was made, in order to preserve what heritage. By now the haggard horse was missing a leg, and the rider-his hands and feet. In the late 80’s an Indiana businessman bought the beeswax model and the latex mould. About 25 years later, the bronze was cast, in Burbank, California. Maly and his partner Jim Small bought the mold and bronze for an undisclosed amount.
Maly said: “This is remarkable, because we have been able to have a piece of history to preserve. Nothing like that has ever been done before. This was a piece of beeswax in 1985, and there was a mold made out of latex to preserve it for eternity, and we have the original of that latex mold.”
The new property is a safe deposit box in Las Vegas. But The Horse and Rider are let loose for a trip around the world. Maly is happy to show off this relatively unknown connection with the great spirit, whose gifts he describes with much emotion.
“Why is the Mona Lisa of the most revered artwork in the world? Why is the portrait of a relatively normal renaissance woman the most revered artwork in the world? It’s magic,” he said. “It is because there are things within our psyche, in the universe, that we do not understand, and Leonardo tapped into that, in all his works, and that is why he is a great artist.”
And The Horse and the Rider are now charging around to spread the message that Leonardo was also a major sculptor.
The image is at the Institut Français in Milan until Dec. 23.
Amy Kellogg currently serves as a Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent based in Milan, Italy. She joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1999 as a Moscow-based correspondent. Follow her on Twitter: @amykelloggfox