Monday, September 9, 2013

Visual Treat: The Horse

Sometimes it is good to get away and see things that challenge or update your own ideas of what is and is not art. I had a lot of that on vacation. It was a spur of the moment thing, we weren't really planning a full out minute by minute itinerary for this trip. My house mate said Grand Rapids and I said "OK." Even when she mentioned the sculpture park I wasn't too enthused. There has been a lot of that lately. But when we got down there I suddenly remembered "THE HORSE!!!!"

da Vinci modeled a horse for the Sforza clan for a commission by the Duke of Milan. The whole statue never was built. The clay model ever got beyond the construction of the horse before it was used for target practice when French soldiers invaded Milan. A few centuries later an American named Dent decided to have it built. The process began in 1977 and was completed just before I went to school in 1999. The story was huge. Every paper carried full page spreads of the newest installation at the Frederick Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park. And I was even more excited to get to art school than before.

Life gets in the way the way that it does and it is 2013 before I even think about getting there to see it. When I remembered that he was there... this great war horse of da Vinci's, I felt the fire for art that I haven't felt in a while. I needed desperately to connect with something outside of myself again.

And so....

Looming over a piazza built for him, the stallion is an awesome and fierce looking thing to behold. He can be seen from many vantage points within the garden park. Thankfully my zoom let me get up close and personal for this shot.

It was a hazy day, incredibly overcast with threats of a good shower. Amateur photography is difficult on a day like today because I don't know how to compensate. Just now, while uploading this photo I noticed the rays in the shot. Glorious!


There are three models of the Horse. Here the littlest and the biggest stand in the same pose and the same direction and look like a father teaching a son about military precision stepping. The tiny horse is meant to be touched and enjoyed. The large one can be "hugged" if you are so inclined. I was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer size of the thing and got a small case of vertigo, so I kept my distance.
The medium sized horse sits perpendicular to the others. One should not "ride" the horse but it is of a size in which one might; though, I think it is still not enough hands high for a proper wartime mount. But for the purpose of photography the medium horse is still a magnificent thing to behold. You can get much closer to the details in the mane and face than with the behemoth in the piazza. And, if you go up around the wall enclosing that part of the piazza, lean a bit against it to get your bearings then you can see this....
 At this vantage point you are part of the sculpture. You are on one horse and looking at the horse of your opponent in battle. You are about to lose your shit and it feels like there is very little you can do about it but muster some strength to fight like a Klingon or

piss yourself and go home.

And I wonder... if the Trojan horse was not this magnificent why the hell would they let the thing into its walls. Any thing less than this is not a gift but an insult. Troy should have known better and since it did not it got what it deserved.

If you would like to see these animals for yourself there are two options. Grand Rapids Michigan at the Frederick Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park or the Hippodrome de san Siro Milan.

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