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A statuesque exhibit
High Museum of Art focuses on 3-D work by Leonardo da Vinci
0128Davinci-Veroccio
“Flying Angel,” a terracotta relief sculpture that may or may not have been created by Leonardo da Vinci.
‘Leonardo da Vinci: Hand of the Genius’
When: Through Feb. 21
Where: High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta
How much: $18 adults, $15 seniors and college students with ID, $11 children age 6-17, free for kids age 5 and younger and members
More info: 404-733-5000

ATLANTA — You probably know Leonardo da Vinci for his famous painting, “Portrait of Mona Lisa.” Or maybe it is his prized “Last Supper” that comes to mind.

But what you might not know about da Vinci is that he had a sculptor’s eye, and had detailed plans for many monumental sculptures — most of which did not come to fruition before his death.

But an exhibit now through Feb. 21 at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta highlights this other side of the master artist. “Leonardo da Vinci: Hand of the Genius” features sketches by da Vinci and sculptures by his instructors and students.

The exhibit, which includes 20 sketches by da Vinci, is the first to focus on da Vinci as a sculptor.

Included in the exhibit is “The Beheading of St. John the Baptist,” a relief which includes two warriors thought to be created by da Vinci himself.

Guest curator Gary Radke discovered the resemblance between a sketch by da Vinci and the two warriors, and presented the possibility that da Vinci would have made the two pieces as he worked under his mentor, Andrea del Verrocchio, who created the remainder of the piece.

Because each warrior was attached individually to the work, it is possible that it was created by more than one artist.

Another piece, “Flying Angel,” a terra cotta relief, also is thought to have been created by da Vinci in collaboration with Verrocchio.

Radke said the “Hand of the Genius” came about backward, starting with the opportunity to display “John the Baptist Preaching to a Levite and a Pharisee,” three larger-than-life bronze works by da Vinci’s student, Giovan Francesco Rustici.

Radke said that opportunity gave him the idea to delve into how Leonardo’s teachers influenced him, and how da Vinci in turn influenced his students.

The “most exciting, most terrifying” part of assembling the exhibit, Radke said, was bringing in the Rustici works, which had to be placed on display by cranes.

Perhaps another daunting part of the exhibit was the Sforza Horse monument, which stands tall in Sifly Piazza just outside the High.

Visitors can see da Vinci’s plans for the 26-foot figure, assembled by a team on scaffolding with the assistance of cranes, once inside the exhibit.

Da Vinci did create a full-scale clay model of the horse, but it was destroyed by French soldiers, who used it for target practice before he was able to cast it in bronze.

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