OF ARC'S GIFT HORSE
of Arc was a superb horsewoman at the age 17 and drew
the critical eye of many knights. Guy de Laval, a young
knight, wrote home to his mother about Joan's equestrian
skills and another called D'Alencon was so impressed by
her ability when he saw her on a borrowed horse that he
decided to give her a magnificent steed as a gift. Two
years later at the tender age of 19 Joan met her fate
and was burnt at the stake. For
Joan's complete story click here.
da Vinci and his Gift Horse.
The Duke of Milan in 1482 commissioned Leonard da
Vinci to create the largest bronze equestrian statue ever
at 100 tons and standing 26 feet high.Leonardo started
by making a full scale clay model which was complete by
1483, was exhibited and became one of the wonders of Milan.
However, misfortune struck and before he could complete
the accumulation of the massive quantities of bronze,
the French threatened to attack.The Duke decided to grab
Leonardo's bronze stockpile and make it into cannons.
The equestrian statue project was put on hold. But, five
years later the French attacked Milan forcing both Leonardo
and the Duke to flee. In the meanwhile the French discovered
the huge clay horse abandoned in a vineyard where it was
used by French archers for target practice.Having been
pierced by many arrows and in addition suffering the attrition
of rainy weather the clay model cracked and fell apart.
the tale has a happy ending. Exactly 500 years later in
1999 the completed bronze horse was unveiled with a grand
ceremony in Milan. Milan's mayor accepted the horse as
a gift from the American people to the Italian people.
A second horse called the "American Horse" was
unveiled in October 1999 in Frederick Meijer Gardens,
Grand Rapids, Michigan.
[Back to Gift Horse 2]