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Sculptor’s Statement

Nina Akamu

Sculptor Nina Akamu reflected on the sculpting of The Horse in this May 1999 essay:

“During the 17 years Leonardo da Vinci worked on his plans for the Sforza Monument, he made numerous small sketches of horses to help illustrate his copious notes on the complex technological procedures for molding and casting the monument in bronze. Due to the lack of systematic order in his note taking, none of the existing drawings reveal the final position of the Horse or the appearance of the finished monument. However, experts suggest that enough studies remain to provide evidence of Leonardo’s intentions. Was the information contained in these small 1″-3½” sketches sufficient to substantiate the creation of a life-sized equine sculpture and the final 24-foot colossal Horse?

”The unavailability of exact visual references necessary to a project of this magnitude created a wide latitude for interpretation. I relied on several sources of relevant information to gain more insight into the sculpture’s possible position, proportion and aesthetic character. Leonardo’s drawings and notes for other projects, as well as his thoughts on anatomy, painting, sculpture and natural phenomena were carefully studied. Other visual and literary sources including the contributions of his teachers and their influence on his work were also investigated. Finally, discussions with experts, colleagues and writings of scholars in the field were respectfully considered.

”The complex artistic challenges of creating the eight-foot master model involved an understanding and sculptural translation of design, structure, anatomy, character, and movement combined with grace and harmony.

”The sculpture which I created for the Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse Inc. pays homage to the creative genius of Leonardo. It is not intended to be a recreation of his sculpture. However, it has been significantly influenced by certain works of art and writings from that period, and specifically Leonardo’s notebooks and accompanying drawings with great emphasis on his involvement with the Sforza monument.

”It is my hope that the duality of knowledge and imagination and the creative problems which have challenged this project have resolved themselves in an image which is powerful, intriguing, and symbolically significant.

”During the two years of my involvement with this project, I have been deeply inspired by the richness of information encountered in my investigations. Moreover, the profound dedication and tenacious creative efforts of those who have supported the 20-year vision of Charles Dent have also been an inspiration and have strengthened my resolve to help in fulfilling his dream.

”Perhaps the modern Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse can be seen as a symbol for the power and momentum of creative energy and a vision which is directed and focused on a distant goal. The Horse’s awesome size stands as a testament to the magnitude of Leonardo’s colossal creation. Our gift to Italy may be viewed as a metaphor for the immense genius of Leonardo, a paragon of creativity, and the great epoch in which he lived, the Renaissance.”

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