A 504-year-old metal casting of Leonardo da Vinci's beeswax "Horse and Rider" sculpture was recently unveiled to the art world. It is the only 3-D piece of work by da Vinci that still exists, only one of two dozen authenticated works left by the artist.
Leonardo da Vinci's "Horse and Rider" premiered at a private event at the historic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, California, on Monday, August 27, 2012.
According to Yahoo News, American businessman Richard A. Lewis had no idea what he had when he purchased the beeswax sculpture regarding its historic value. "In all honesty, I was very naïve to what I had," Lewis told Yahoo News during an interview before the new bronze casting's unveiling.
Twenty-five years later, Richard A. Lewis contacted Dr. Carlo Pedretti, considered the world's foremost living authority on Leonardo da Vinci and professor emeritus of art history and the Chair of Leonardo Studies at UCLA. It was Dr. Pedretti who would study and authenticate the beeswax sculpture "Horse and Rider" of Leonardo da Vinci. From this study, it was believed that in 1508, da Vinci would create from a block of beeswax a model of a horse and rider in full military regalia. "The work is thought to be the model for a much larger monument to Leonardo’s friend and patron Charles d’Amboise, French governor of Milan."
Brett Barney, president of the American Fine Arts Foundry, and his team spent three years working on a lost wax casting process with Lewis's beeswax sculpture, creating a mold from it that would eventually become a master bronze sculpture. The bronze sculpture became a piece of authenticated work built over 500 years after Leonardo da Vinci's death.
Brett Barney told Yahoo News, "It's the opportunity of a lifetime," Barney said. "To be part of a masterpiece by da Vinci himself, I can't think of anybody that would be more prestigious." Part of the prestige was a thumbprint found on the right breast of the horse, believed to be da Vinci's trademark.