Unfinished Art Leonardo da Vinci's Statue of a Horse

About the unfinished work of art Leonardo da Vinci's Statue of a Horse, history and description of the piece.

RENOWNED UNFINISHED WORKS FROM THE ARTS TO ARCHITECTURE

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,

Or what's a heaven for?

--Robert Browning

1. LEONARDO DA VINCI: STATUE OF A HORSE (begun 1488)

Leonardo determined to surpass his predecessors when he worked 12 years on the projected sculpture of a bronze horse to be erected at Milan in memory of the father of his patron, Lodovico Sforza. The 23-ft.-high statue would have required the pouring of 200,000 lb. of molten metal into a mold fast enough and at a high enough temperature to allow uniform cooling. For this purpose Leonardo designed a system of multiple furnaces. In 1493 a clay model of the horse was displayed in Milan and acclaimed as being the most beautiful object ever seen. But war threatened, and the metal ready to be poured for the horse was used for cannon. When the French overwhelmed the Milanese in 1499, Gascon bowmen used Leonardo's model for target practice. Arrow damage allowed water to enter, and after a few seasons the great horse fell apart. Today only sketches of it exist.

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