Making Art Visible: Leonardo’s Horse

Close-up of Leonardo's horse“Leonardo’s lost horse stands as a ‘symbol of overcoming the impossible.’ ” – New York Times,  Moving Leonardo’s Horse, February 23, 2014

Although Leonardo completed the stallion  for Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, in 1493, it took 500 years before the public would see it. The true story, better known by children than adults, Leonardo's Horse by Jean Fritz(as the result of Jean Fritz’ book, Leonardo’s Horse) has recently come to light in a New York Times piece. It’s a tale worth telling.

Leonardo didn’t cast his horse until just before the French invaded Milan in 1499. His delay caused the literal undoing of his 24 foot masterpiece. It would consume 58,000 pounds of copper and tin,  and Leonardo’s horse was fated to become the target of enemy arrows.

Dent with a model of Leonardo's horse
Dent with a model of Leonardo’s horse

Centuries later, Charles Dent, an American pilot, was determined to recreate it, and it all but happened before he became ill and died. But his horse had noticeable anatomical flaws. And so there was to be a new beginning. Nina Akumu started from scratch. Five centuries from the date of its original construction the steed traveled from New York to Milan to be installed at a racetrack far from the city.

Leonardo's HorseLeonardo’s horse was something I had to see. Nothing could have prepared me for the enormity -the majesty of what the artist had envisioned And virtually no one was there to experience it.

Recently the people of Milan requested that it be brought back home. Leonardo's HorseWith the horse’s relocation to the city, it would be available to a wider audience – the public. That’s what this work, and so much of Art deserves. To be made visible.

The same is true of Art that children make. The Advent School Early Childhood Center - 2012Nobody’s comparing what kids create to Leonardo’s masterpiece – but we must give it the attention that all Art deserves. There is importance to children’s work. We must preserve and honor it so they keep on making Art.

Sincerely, Nancy Harris Frohlich

Next time: Making Kids’ Art Visible

Fresco made at Charles River School
Fresco and Mummies at Charles River School, Dover, MA – on Permanent Display

On Permanent Display

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