Leonardo da Vinci – just his
name evokes wonder-filled visions of beautiful works of art from paintings,
to statues, to drawings of fantastic flying machines. One of the
works that Leonardo began was never finished in his lifetime – a statue
of a horse for the Duke of Milan to give to his father. Leonardo’s
Horse begins with a brief look at Leonardo da Vinci’s life and then his
meetings and plans for the horse. Leonardo studied horses.
He drew them, he measured them, and he learned all about their muscles
and how they worked together. He actually did construct a 24-foot
high clay model but then the real problems began – how to actually cast
in bronze that large of a statue! Then Leonardo was distracted by
other projects and even a war interfered with his statue. The Duke
took all of the metal Leonardo had collected for making the horse to use
for weapons. Then when the French attacked, they destroyed the clay model!
All was lost and Leonardo worried about his horse until his dying day.
In 1977, Charlie Dent, an airline pilot read about Leonardo’s grief over
not finishing the horse and decided that he would complete the task.
He studied, measured, and drew horses like Leonardo did. Dent had
a special domed building made to work in and began constructing the new
horse. However, Charlie Dent’s untimely death in 1994 ended his work.
Was the horse ever to be finished? Read Leonardo’s Horse and follow
Leonardo da Vinci’s and Charlie Dent’s stories to find out.
Prepared by: Skye Hall for
Carolina Children's Book Award
1519 -- Leonardo da Vinci was
dying. As he looked back on all the remarkable accomplishments of
his unique, prolific life, one unrealized vision dominated his thoughts.
In his mind he could still picture a magnificent sculpture of a horse,
brilliantly bronze and larger than life, but there was not more time left
to him. This one unfulfilled dream overshadowed all the other many
wonderful things he had done, and his heart was broken. Leonardo
wept for his horse.
1994 -- Charlie Dent was dying.
He had always loved art, and he especially loved the art of Leonardo.
He wept to think that Leonardo's dream was still unrealized, and so he
took up the challenge, vowing to finish what Leonardo had begun so many
years before. First he built a dome to house this powerful, elegant
creature, but before he could finish it, Charlie got sick. Now there
was no more time left to him, but Charlie's friends and family promised
him that they would finish the horse. Charlie knew they would, and
so he did not weep for his and Leonardo's horse.
1999 -- Nina Akamu stood on
a platform in Milan. She was waiting for the moment when the enormous
cloth covering her creation would be lifted, and the creature within would
be revealed. Her talent, her devotion, her heart, and her dreams
had entwined with those of Leonardo and Charlie. Now this creature,
first envisioned so many years before, was ready. Nina wept, but
this time the tears were joyful ones. Leonardo's horse was finally
home! (New Hampshire
Great Stone Face Committee, 2003)