A Horseman in Combat with a Griffin - by Leonardo da Vinci

To the left the horse with rider rears up to engage in combat with a griffin. A griffin (or gryphon) is a mythical beast, a winged four-legged creature with the head and talons of an eagle and the body of a lion. A griffin was reputed to have the combined strength of a lion and an eagle. Leonardo created several drawings of a horse and rider in combat with wild animals. His interest lay in medieval bestiaries (books of beasts) and the animal symbolism in Physiologus, an ancient Greek text (2nd century AD), by an unknown author which discussed the physiology of animals and birds including mythical creatures