One of the Modern Wonders of the World.... The Leonardo DaVinci Horse


     It was not even dawn when I arrived with my children, Tai and Zohar, at the Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a cold morning in November, I think it was, in 1999. I had even convinced my parents to move their planned visit up a few days to attend this toe chilling event. Afterall, I had been convinced that anyone who attended the unveiling of the physical manifestation of the 500 year old dream of Leonardo DaVinci would be blessed with an increase in intelligence of 15 points. At least that was what I told everyone....


I had my camera, but did not think to bring my tripod, and it was clear that it would take a miracle to capture the incredible appearance of the miniature version of the statue, a mere eight feet tall, in the spot lit blackness of the 5 am space. "Golden" was the result, of my holding my breath and praying during a two second exposure with 200 ASA film.

As our toes, confined to the hillside with the masses rather than the warmer VIP Breakfast Buffet Tent, got cold and numb, the day dawned. The large Belgian horses were hooked up to the giant silk shroud that had been billowing in the breeze for hours, and revealed the glory of the twenty four foot tall seven piece bronze cast weldment. WOW. See "Unveiling."


Finally, the speeches, including the one from the mayor of Vinci, Italy, who had been flown in for the event by Fred Meijer, to appeal to the people of Grand Rapids to donate the money required so that the people of Vinci could at least have one of the miniature statues, were over, and we were allowed to go up to the big horse itself. See "Head" and "Foot."

What a miracle! Not an exact replica of the destroyed clay mold made by Leonardo himself, but a new creation by a Japanese American woman based on his drawings. Not made by Leonardo's revolutionary giant underground sequentially gated explosive cast method, but cast in seven pieces and welded together, this is one heck of a masterpiece!

Hope that you can visit it someday. If you can't make it to Grand Rapids, they have one in Milano, Italy, too!

Debbie Aliya


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