Unique bronze casting of Leonardo sculpture coming to auction
NEW YORK – Following a 1995 exhibit in Stockholm, Sweden, the media was ablaze with the announcement that a small, centuries-old beeswax figure of a man on horseback was authenticated by leading scholars as having been the work of none other than the great master, Leonardo da Vinci. A single bronze figure was able to be meticulously cast from the ancient wax in 2012 will be sold at auction in November.
Believed to be the model for what was to have been a monument honoring Leonardo’s patron Charles d’Amboise, the historic casting was titled simply Horse and Rider. The beautiful 11-inch bronze, the only casting to emerge directly from Leonardo da Vinci’s circa 1510 beeswax figure, along with the original mold made from the wax figure, will be sold by Guernsey’s on Nov. 1; location to be announced.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death (May 2, 1519) with celebrations, events and exhibits around the world honoring the “Renaissance man’s” genius. It is so rare that a work by the Leonardo da Vinci becomes available that in 2017 a painting attributed to him fetched $450 million at auction, the highest amount ever paid for a single work of art.
Emerging from a Swiss vault in the 1980s, the wax Horse and Rider became the object of intense study by Italy’s Dr. Carlo Pedretti, then UCLA’s Armand Hammer Chair in Leonardo Studies. Widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading Leonardo scholars and author of more than 60 volumes on da Vinci, Pedretti not only authenticated the sculpture but also included it prominently in his three-volume masterwork of original Leonardo art in the British collection of Her Majesty the Queen. Prof. Ernesto Solari, a noted Leonardo da Vinci academic, thought so much of Horse and Rider that his 2016 book is devoted entirely to it.