Friday, 31 December 2010

BOOKS - Leonardo's Horse - By: Jean Fritz

An interesting children's book
The Leonardo da Vinci lapbook, that we downloaded the templates for from the Homeschool Share website, is based on a lovely book written by Jean Fritz.  The book is titled, "Leonardo's Horse" and is illustrated by Hudson Talbot.  This is an interesting book because it is not square or rectangular -- but it is cut out in an oval shape at the top and both the front and back pages are a coppery gold colour.  Both the text and illustrations are copyright 2001.  The book was published by G. P. Putnam's Sons in New York.

The illustrations are very detailed and beautifully done.  The story of Leonardo's horse is told in brief. (For an detailed explanation of the story of the horse, see our post from December 15th titled "More Photos of our Leonardo da Vinci Lapbook).  Then, Fritz tells the story of an American, Charles Dent, who is inspired to recreate the clay model that was never cast in bronze.  The funds were raised and a model was made, however it was found not to be acceptable when it came time to take it to the foundry for casting.  And so the process began again until a pefect horse could be made as a gift for the people of Milan.  Dent died, during the process, but his family promised to see his dream through to its conclusion.

On September 19, 1999 the bronze statue was unveiled in a small park in front of Milan's famous racetrack and within whinnying distance of the racing stables.  The sculptor, Nina Akamu, had written on the pupil of one eye of the horse "Leonardo da Vinci" and on the other "Charles Dent."  She also wrote her own name in the curly mane of the horse.

In an "Author's Note" on the back flyleaf of the book, it says, "Charlie had planned to paint the finished horse gold, just as Leonardo had expected to do.  But the people of Milan said they already had one gold statue in the city.  That was enough.  So gold was ruled out."

"When the twenty-four foot horse was completed it was possible to make others, but the Board of Trustees decided to allow only one more to be made.  This would be an American horse. Frederik Meijer, one of the most enthusiastic and generous of the original donors, bought the American horse and placed it in the public gardens he had already donated to the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he lives."

An address is given for more information on the activities of Leonardo da Vinci's Horse, Inc:

P. O. Box 396
Fogelsville, PA  18051-0396, USA

The website is:

Photos of some of the wonderful illustrations:

Leonardo releasing caged birds

A depiction of one of the special occasions at the Duke's palace

Leonardo presenting the clay model - November 1493
The finished statue in Milan, Italy

1 comment:

  1. Photographing tip: When you are taking flash photos of pictures or books, I recommend that you stand slightly off-center, and shoot at an angle. The flash will then carom off like a billiard shot, rather than bouncing straight back at the lens. Just surfed in from a keyword search...