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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

A horse in left profile, with measurements


Creator: Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519) (artist)
Creation Date: 
Materials and techniques: 
Metalpoint and pen and ink on blue-grey prepared paper, the upper half damaged
32.4 x 23.7 cm
RL 12319
P(L) 89
Acquirer: Charles II, King of Great Britain (1630-85)
Bequeathed to Francesco Melzi; from whose heirs purchased by Pompeo Leoni, c.1582-90; Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, by 1630; Probably acquired by Charles II; Royal Collection by 1690

A study of the hind-quarters and legs of a horse, in profile to the right, with a few measurements; a drawing of waving hair/flowing water?; the words 'de Lionardo'; the fore-leg and off hind-leg of a horse with measurements; in the lower half of the sheet is a study of a full-length horse in profile to the left, and measurements; a bent fore-leg and measurements, and shoulders and a fore-leg with measurements.

During the 1480s Ludovico Sforza, the ruler of Milan, commissioned an equestrian monument to his father Francesco from Leonardo. Over the next few years Leonardo prepared a full-size clay model, but the bronze cast was never made, and the model was destroyed after the French invasion of Milan in 1499. This is one of Leonardo's measured studies of a horse made to help him construct the model. The unit of measurement is the horse's head (testa, written by Leonardo as T), divided into sixteenths. At some point in its history the folded drawing became stuck to some other surface, and subsequently lost large patches of its blue preparation in the upper half of the sheet.

Text adapted from 'Leonardo da Vinci: the Divine and the Grotesque'

Further details

Unframed Drawings / Watercolours