LEONARDO da Vinci
(b. 1452, Vinci, d. 1519, Cloux, near Amboise)
Group of riders in the Battle of Anghiari1503-04
Black chalk, white highlights, 160 x 197 mm
Royal Library, Windsor
One of the many projects that Leonardo abandoned during the course of his life was the plan to create a monumental battle painting in the Sala del Gran Consiglio in the Florentine Palazzo Vecchio. The theme was the Florentine victory at Anghiari in 1434. The master's wall painting soon disappeared, however, as it remained unfinished; the composition with the whirling hosts of cavalry was known only to artists. Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) not only created a brilliant version of it, but also applied what he could learn from Leonardo to his paintings.