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Las Vegas hotel displays a rare Leonardo da Vinci sculpture

August 23, 2012|By Jamie Wetherbe
  • "Horse and Rider" is thought to be one of the only surviving examples of Leonardo da Vinci's sculpture work.
"Horse and Rider" is thought to be one of the only surviving examples… (PRNewsFoto / Art encounter )

Las Vegas' newest artistic attraction is a 500-year-old sculpture by Leonardo da Vinci.

A mold and original bronze cast crafted by Leonardo were put on view to the public for the first time at “Da Vinci — The Genius," an exhibit at the Venetian Resort.

"Horse and Rider," which shows a Renaissance soldier on horseback, is thought to be one of the only surviving examples of Leonardo's sculpture work.

Leonardo molded the cast from a block of beeswax in the early 1500s, but died before the project was completed. His pupil Francesco Melz inherited the piece, and it remained in his family until World War II when it was moved to Switzerland for safekeeping.

Businessman and civil engineer Richard A. Lewis later took possession of the piece. He asked Las Vegas-based art appraisal and consultation service Art Encounter to put the sculpture on public display with the goal of raising $1 million for the Salvation Army.

Lewis also commissioned a limited number of reproductions to be made in bronze and silver for $25,000 to $35,000 each.

"Da Vinci — The Genius," on display through Oct. 15, explores the different facets of Leonardo's mastery through 75 large-scale machines, a detailed replica of the "Mona Lisa," and prototypes and sketches for a bicycle, helicopter and machine gun -- four centuries before their time.

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