If you’re a fan of art and history, we’ve got quite the story for you. While there are plenty of unique sculptures, buildings, and architectural feats to explore here in the Great Lakes State, one piece in Grand Rapids is utterly fascinating – and you’ll surely want to see it for yourself. Even if you’ve checked out this incredible horse sculpture in Michigan during previous visits to the area, you might just learn something new about its origins as you read on.
“The American Horse” is an unmissable sculpture located on the beautiful grounds of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, which can be found along the East Beltline NE in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
While visitors to Meijer Gardens often stop to snap photos of this equestrian-inspired mammoth, few take time to learn its far-reaching history. For art enthusiasts, this sculpture is truly a must-experience piece.
The sculpture itself arrived in Grand Rapids in 1999, but its history extends centuries into the past. In fact, its origins date back to 1482, when Leonardo da Vinci envisioned a horse sculpture for the Duke of Milan.
Despite years of preparation and study, da Vinci’s designs for the towering bronze piece never came to fruition, as the bronze intended for his piece was ultimately repurposed into military cannons in 1494.
Da Vinci died without seeing his gargantuan horse constructed – but in 1977, American art collector Charles Dent embarked on a 15-year journey to complete da Vinci’s vision and bring the sculpture into existence.
While Dent’s work laid the foundation for the creation of “The American Horse,” it was sculptor Nina Akamu who redesigned the piece and created two casts for the final bronze beauty following Dent’s 1994 death.
In 1999, the first bronze cast of Akamu’s stunning design was placed in Milan, bringing da Vinci’s centuries-old dream full-circle. The second cast was used for – you guessed it – “The American Horse.”
Today, Akamu’s 24-foot piece draws in countless visitors right here in Michigan. As you gaze up at this incredible creation, allow yourself to be amazed by the ability of art to span centuries and continents.
For more information about visiting Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, where you can see The American Horse for yourself, click here. Have you checked out this unique piece in Grand Rapids or even visited its twin in Milan, Italy? Share your experiences with us by leaving a Facebook comment or recommend another stunning sculpture in Michigan by completing our nomination form here.
Are you looking for another piece of history to explore? Read about this historic church Airbnb in Michigan.
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