A study of a horse rearing to left, full length, with the head thrown back over the shoulder and the mouth open. The sheet has been cut irregularly.
In 1503 Leonardo was commissioned to paint a huge mural in the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence. The subject was to be the Battle of Anghiari, a famous Florentine victory over the Milanese army in 1440. Only a small section of the mural was painted but Leonardo made many studies for this project, including this dynamic drawing of a horse.
Bequeathed to Francesco Melzi; from whose heirs purchased by Pompeo Leoni, c.1582-90; Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, by 1630; Probably acquired by Charles II; Royal Collection by 1690