The Horse and Rider story began in 1985, when four businessmen traveled to Switzerland. During their visit, they were introduced to a centuries old sculpture languishing in a vault. Hand-carved from beeswax, the piece measured approximately 9” long, 9 3/4 “high, and 3 1/2” wide, depicting a warhorse and its distinguished rider… and was purported to be by Renaissance Master, Leonardo Da Vinci.
Intrigued, the men contacted Dr. Carlo Pedretti, the world’s authority on the life and works of Leonardo Da Vinci. In addition to his status as Professor Emeritus of Art History and Italian Studies on Leonardo Da Vinci at UCLA, Dr. Pedretti has written over 50 books and more than 700 scholarly articles and essays on the Master. On July 10th, 1985, following a thorough examination of the wax, Dr. Pedretti stated, in a letter on UCLA stationary: “…this wax model is by Leonardo himself.”
Dubbing the work Horse and Rider, Dr. Pedretti stated that the sculpture was “possibly an equestrian portrait of Charles d’Amboise.” As the French Governor of Milan,(1503-1511) Charles d’Amboise befriended Leonardo upon his arrival in Milan in 1508, and quickly became one of his greatest patrons. The resemblance between the sculpted rider and Andrea Solario’s portrait of Charles d’Amboise, housed in the Louvre Museum, and of the same period, is remarkable.
At this part of the story, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Richard A. Lewis. I was a personal friend with one of the businessmen. He shared with me the existence of the mold made from the wax sculpture. I was so fascinated with the story that in 1987, I purchased the mold and all pertinent documents pertaining to it. Because I was involved in other business activities, the mold and the story sat dormant for twenty-five years.
In January 2012, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Carlo Pedretti. During the meeting, he presented several books and publications documenting “Horse and Rider”. These sources included the definitive catalogue of Leonardo da Vinci’s artwork, known as the Queen’s Collection, owned by Queen Elizabeth and housed at Windsor Castle in England. Leonardo da Vinci: Scientist, Inventor, Artist by Otto Letze and Thomas Buchsteiner was yet another book that Dr. Pedretti shared with me. The last public viewing of the “wax horse’ was a Da Vinci exposition in Malmo, Sweden in 1995.
Between January 2012 and June 2012, a team of expert artists, craftsman and engineers, produced a wax sculpture from the original mold, and using the “lost wax” process, cast the original Horse and Rider bronze sculpture.
I am now ready to present the magnificent “Horse and Rider” to the world.
Richard A. Lewis
Leonardo Da Vinci Equestrian LLC
Owner and Publisher