Near the end of the 19th century, the council of a large European city commissioned a world-renowned sculptor to design a statue that would be placed in the city square. After much thought the sculptor decided on a work that would pay tribute to the animal that had given civilization its mobility and versatility – the horse.
For months he worked meticulously, paying attention to every detail, sculpting every sinew and muscle of his bronze stallion, so that it would be a lifelike replica of the noblest of steeds.
After two years of painstaking effort, the statue was complete. The artist presented it to the city officials who agreed unanimously that it was truly magnificent. They promptly placed the bronze stallion in the city square, where people – much to the shock of the sculptor – completely ignored it.
He could not believe it. Each day he would sit on a bench a short distance from his masterpiece to see if anyone would stop to admire his work, and every day he would return home dejected. No one had given his horse a second glance.
In despair he confided to his friend, “I cannot believe that people are so insensitive,” he began. “I worked on the project for two years, and today it stands in the square ignored. Everyone passes it by without even giving it a second glance.”
“My dear friend, the problem is that your horse is too perfect,” his friend answered. “People think it is a real horse – and who is going to stop to look at a horse?”
“So what should I do?” exclaimed the exasperated sculptor.
“I will tell you,” replied his friend. “Make a crack in it, and then people will realize that it is not a real horse, but a grand piece of art.”
And so, with a heavy heart, the sculptor did indeed chisel a split across one side of the horse. The result was immediate; people stopped everyday to marvel at the work of art that had been there – taken for granted – all along.