Artifacts & Archeology

Leonardo da Vinci’s Ideal Horse has been Found!


By Annalisa Di Maria and Mark Anderson

Leonardo da Vinci, widely regarded as the preeminent Master of All Time, stands as the most extensively studied artist globally. This polymathic genius continues to captivate the imagination, as exemplified by the suspenseful thriller “The Da Vinci Code,” a work of fiction positing that Leonardo embedded intricate clues within his creations. This fascination stems from his embodiment of the universalist spirit of the Renaissance. Among his most iconic drawings, “The Vitruvian Man” has long been a subject of discourse, as scholars endeavor to unveil the concealed secrets behind its depiction of ideal proportions.

Ideal horse, Da Vinci

The enigma has at last been resolved through the momentous revelation of an additional double-sided drawing by the hand of Leonardo da Vinci. The obverse side of the sheet features an equine figure of idealized proportions, aligning with the conclusive study of a sculptural endeavor. On the reverse side, a horse depicted with lifelike proportions emerges, reminiscent of certain studies found within the esteemed Royal Collection Trust archives, cataloged as RCIN 912309 and RCIN 912312.

RCIN912309, Da Vinci RCIN912312, Da Vinci Back of drawing, Ideal Horse, Da Vinci

The research was conducted under the expert guidance of Annalisa Di Maria, a highly esteemed authority on Leonardo da Vinci and Florentine Neoplatonism. Di Maria assembled a team of renowned specialists, including Professor Emeritus Jean-Charles Pomerol from Sorbonne University, who previously served as the chair of CNRS and Pierre and Marie Curie University. Additionally, Nathalie Popis, a distinguished expert in the application of mathematics in art, played a pivotal role in the discovery of an ingenious methodology and a formula approximation of the golden ratio.


The remarkable findings resulting from their investigation have been published in the prestigious scientific journal “Open Science – Art et Science, Iste,” renowned for its expansive readership. The journal’s editorial board boasts distinguished scholars such as Philippe Walter, formerly the head of the laboratory at the Louvre Museum and currently serving as the Director of the CNRS laboratory. Furthermore, Walter’s outstanding contributions to the field led to his election as an academic of sciences by the Institute of France.

An excerpt from Leonardo da Vinci’s treatise on painting, where he asserts, “Let no one read me if he is not a mathematician,” illustrates the profound influence of science on his genius. Given this evident connection, Annalisa Di Maria, who also holds a position as an executive member of the UNESCO Club of Florence, embarked on a comprehensive scientific examination of this magnificent drawing. In addition to the amalgamation of scientific inquiry and unparalleled artistic technique, the impact of Neoplatonism played a pivotal role in fostering the creative spirit of the esteemed Tuscan Master.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, the city of Florence played a pivotal role in reintroducing the knowledge of Greco-Roman antiquity. This era, known as the Renaissance, symbolized progress, individual growth, and spiritual enlightenment. Central to this intellectual movement was a return to ancient texts as models for life, writing, and thought, leading to the rise of the Neoplatonic school under the patronage of the Medici family. Within this school, faith in humanity and the pursuit of scientific knowledge were held as virtuous ideals. Leonardo da Vinci, the most prominent figure of this period, epitomized these principles in his works, which advocated for excellence.

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Among the fundamental principles embraced by these scholars were arithmetic and geometry, considered essential tools for achieving perfection. Plato asserted that “Geometry is the knowledge of what has always existed,” and he famously stated, “Let no one enter my temple unless he is a surveyor.” For these intellectuals, everything stemming from the Divine served as a wellspring of inspiration, as all divine creations represented perfection. They believed that sacred geometry held the key to uncovering the mysteries behind the creation of the world.

The recently discovered ideal horse was presented at a conference held at the European Parliament in Rome, in collaboration with the European Commission. The event also witnessed the presence of the French Embassy in Rome. Additionally, the unveiling took place at the headquarters of the Tuscany Region, in the esteemed presence of the region’s President. During this momentous occasion, Professor Jean-Charles Pomerol unveiled the astonishing methodology behind the Vitruvian Man. Similar to the ideal horse, the figure of the man is framed within two golden rectangles, revealing the meticulous calculation of the circle’s diameter and positioning to achieve divine proportion. Furthermore, the golden ratio prominently manifests throughout the conception of the ideal horse and the Vitruvian Man.

Despite the intricate nature of the Vitruvian Man, the methodology behind it is surprisingly straightforward, although its discovery came more than 500 years later. Annalisa Di Maria, the expert in question, reminded us of Leonardo’s quote: “simplicity is the supreme sophistication.” However, Leonardo himself took the secret of his methodology with him. In the Huygens codex, dating back to 1560, there are drawings directly copied from Leonardo da Vinci’s works, including the Vitruvian Man, where the author attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to comprehend its construction.

During the thorough examination of the ideal horse, scientific analyses, led by the researcher Andrea Da Montefeltro, unveiled the unconventional writing and underlying drawings attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. In addition to a carbon-14 analysis that confirmed compatibility with Leonardo’s era, further dating examinations were conducted by Stefano Fortunati, a renowned paper expert based in Florence. With the invaluable assistance of Silvio Balloni, the curator of the Gironi family archives, a paper with similar characteristics was discovered, enabling Fortunati to determine that the sheet dated back to the late 15th century. Consequently, it was established that both the Vitruvian Man and the Ideal Horse were conceived during the same period.


However, among the scientific disciplines, mathematics stands alone as an exact science. It is the groundbreaking discovery made by Professor Emeritus Jean-Charles Pomerol, President of the Foundation “Sciences Mathématiques de Paris” and a network of excellence comprising the world’s greatest concentration of mathematicians, that has definitively authenticated this drawing as the work of Leonardo. This remarkable finding leaves no room for doubt or chance.

The transparent superposition of the ideal horse onto the Vitruvian Man has revealed an indelible connection between these two drawings, contributing significant progress and knowledge to our understanding of Leonardo’s genius. The study illuminates identical limb placement and proportional relationships. The man’s navel aligns with the horse’s center, with one of the horse’s hooves intersecting the circle where the man’s knee also resides, and their calves coincide. Another hoof is positioned on the square, connected to the man’s foot (as indicated by the blue cross). Furthermore, the segments dividing the human body align precisely with the horse’s limbs. The first segment separates the head and neck, the segment across the chest corresponds to the top of the horse’s rump, the segment at the top of the pelvis aligns with the joint of the raised leg, and the segment across the knee intersects with the horse’s hock (as shown by the dotted line). The union of these two drawings attests to meticulous calculations and Leonardo’s vision of the ideal. In his mind, ideal beauty could only be expressed through a concealed mathematical code and an inherent geometry bordering on divine essence.

“Vitruvian Man” and the “Ideal Horse”
Da Vinci

Through these two drawings, which epitomize absolute perfection, Leonardo da Vinci unveils the essence of Neoplatonic philosophy, asserting a profound connection among all beings. While man and horse represent distinct entities, they partake in a shared unity that is divine in nature. This astounding revelation demonstrates that Leonardo da Vinci had envisioned universal principles that encompassed all living creatures.

The Vitruvian Man, recently insured for a staggering sum of €800,000,000, and the Ideal Horse are of immense significance. They bear witness to Leonardo’s profound convictions, intertwining art, science, and philosophy. His scientific acumen, unparalleled talent, and profound intellect establish him as the unrivaled genius of all time. Leonardo da Vinci, affectionately referred to as “the new Phidias” in his era, continues to amaze and captivate us with his boundless creativity.

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