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Issue #88 : Winter 1999

Leonardo’s Bronze Horse Installed

Leonardo da Vinci's bronze horse
Assembling Leonardo's great bronze horse at the Tallix Foundry.

Belatedly--by half a millennium--Leonardo da Vinci's great bronze horse, cast in 60 segments in the United States, has been erected in Milan. The 24-foot-high, 15-ton horse, the world's largest equestrian statue, is a talented American sculptor's concept of how the great Florentine artist/inventor's horse might have looked. The clay model for the original was destroyed in 1499 by invading vandals, who used it for target practice.

The $6.5 million horse was cast at the Tallix Foundry, Beacon, New York, in C87300 silicon bronze. This alloy was chosen because "...it is easy to pour and does not show welds under patination colors," according to Greg Glasson of Tallix, the project's manager. The bronze, also known as Everdur 500, was supplied by J. Kuhle Metals Company, Inc., Harrison, New Jersey.

The sculptor who re-created the horse is Nina Akamu. She was guided by Leonardo's sketches of other horses, because not even a drawing was left of the artist's concept. And her version doesn't have a rider. Leonardo's version might have carried his patron's father, the Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza, in bronze, but there's no evidence this is the case, says Glasson.

Small Versions Available

To see and enjoy the horse, you don't have to travel to Milan. A duplicate has been erected in the Frederick Meijer Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and smaller replicas of the horse are available from the foundry and from Guild.com, an on-line purveyor of objects d'art. Cast out of the same alloy as the original, they range in size from a 5-inch version for $750 to a 12-footer for $1 million.

Besides Leonardo's horses, the Tallix Foundry has cast or fabricated out of sheet metal scores of sculptures erected all over the world. They include an 8-foot-tall, bronze statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the University of Texas.

Guild.com: 877/645-2699

Tallix: 914/838-1111

Kuhle Metals: 201/998-8300.

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