Las Vegas based Art encounter has been named as the exclusive representative for the sale of the only authenticated sculptural work known to exist today, by Leonardo da Vinci. Art encounter President, Brett Maly states, ” ‘Horse and Rider’ is a modern day casting of a unique wax model, created by Da Vinci over five-hundred years ago. Most masterworks by Leonardo, have been in the great museums of the world for decades and even centuries. Horse and Rider has remained in various private collections throughout its amazing history.”
Horse and Rider is a beeswax sculpture depicting a rider on a horse, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci c. 1508–1511. It was intended to be used as a model for a life-size sculpture, commissioned by Charles II d’Amboise, French Governor of Milan from 1503–1511. Charles II d’Amboise died in 1511, Leonardo died in 1519 and the monument to d’Amboise was never completed nor cast in bronze.
The approximately 10 inches (25 cm) high, 9 inches (23 cm) long, and 3.5 inches (9 cm) wide beeswax sculpture is believed to be a maquette for a full size bronze sculpture. According to professor Ernesto Solari, curator of a 2016 exhibition of the sculpture, it is innovative, far removed from the classical models the young Leonardo had been familiar with during his time with Andrea del Verrocchio; particularly when Verrocchio was working on the Equestrian statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni. On the horse’s chest is an embedded print of a right thumb, believed to be Leonardo’s.
Art encounter Executive Director Scott Ferguson added, “some of the factors motivating the owners to sell at this time are: the record breaking sale at auction of Leonardo’s ‘Salvator Mundi’, the publishing of Walter Isaacson’s bestselling Leonardo biography, and news of actor Leonardo di Caprio’s starring role as Leonardo da Vinci in a movie based on Isaacson’s book.” Ferguson continued, “Our task is to research potential markets and advise of venues and methods for the sale that will yield the best, most positive result.”
Any sale will include the original bronze casting, as well as the 1985 latex mold created by the beeswax statuette. Additionally, the reproduction rights will be offered as part of a sale. The value of the original bronze was appraised at $35 Million in 2013. Today, the combined value is estimated to be in excess of $55 Million.
The sculpture was attributed to Leonardo da Vinci by art historian Carlo Pedretti in 1985, mainly due to a note Leonardo had written for himself in another work. On a c.1503-1504 worksheet from the Codex Windsor set of Leonardo’s drawings are sketches of horses, believed to be part of a study for the painting of The Battle of Anghiari. In the middle of the sheet is a note to “make one of wax about finger long”, and the bucking posture of one of the horses is similar to the sculpture. Leonardo may indeed have used wax models to prepare for Anghiari. Art historian Patricia Trutty-Coohill also noticed a resemblance between the rider and Charles II d’Amboise from Andrea Solari’s painting from c.1507. Charles was one of Leonardo’s patrons, and the subject matter would suit what’s known of him. The beeswax statuette, including black and white photographs, was first published as a work by Leonardo in 1987 in “The drawings and miscellaneous papers of Leonardo da Vinci in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle”. The book was part of a series that Pedretti had taken over from Kenneth Clark, cataloging Leonardo’s drawings stored in the Royal Collection in Windsor Castle.
As with many artworks by Leonardo, not all art scholars agree with Pedretti’s attribution. When exhibited at the Boston Museum of Science in 1997, the museum labeled the sculpture, “attributed to Leonardo”. Art historian Pietro Marani and art critic Vittorio Sgarbi doubted the sculpture’s provenance when the bronze cast was exhibited in Milan in 2016, commenting that there still isn’t adequate hard evidence to support the attribution of the work to Leonardo.
For more information contact:
Scott Ferguson – [email protected] or 702-227-0220