The huge reclining bronze facing Château Amboise on the Isle d’Or is inscribed Leonardo da Vinci.
The muscular macho man (which Leonardo certainly was not) is the Greek god Perseus with Medusa, a gorgon with live snakes covering her head.
It was cast in 1923 by the Italian sculptor, Amleto Cataldi.
When the sculpting was donated to France in 1935, it was called River God so it is entirely appropriate it should end its days gracing the banks of the mighty Loire.
Michel Debré, the legendary mayor of Amboise from 1966 to 1989 served under President Charles de Gaulle from 1959 to 1962. As the first Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic, he helped draft the current French Constitution.
Mr Debre acquired the statue for Amboise in 1963 but it did not appear on the river bank until 1973.
In 2011 River God morphed into Leonardo da Vinci and is now officially known by that name.
Read more about Leonardo da Vinci and his connection with the Loire Valley in Leonardo da Vinci: The Amboise Connection (available from Amazon).
The book was written to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death in 1519 at Clos Lucé, Amboise, France where he spent the last three years of his life.
Post by Pamela
Pamela, a Graduate and Tutor in the History of Art, trained as a magazine journalist at the London College of Printing and has been a freelance writer for over twenty years. She has a passion for history and has published several books on various subjects. Click hear to see all of Pamela’s books.