Before I continue to look at Horses in Art I have to welcome aboard a new subscriber from London which is exciting as we now cover three continents- England, USA and Australia.
And I have to apologise to all my Chinese friends- it’s the Year of the Dog, not the Horse!! Mea Culpa. Nevertheless, back to the horse!
One of the most famous English painters of horses was George Stubbs (1724-1806). He produced numerous anatomical drawings of horses after spending 18 months dissecting equine carcasses. Here is one of his magnificent drawings and the Hero Image for today is another of Stubbs' drawings.
Stubbs made 18 finished studies which he published himself when he couldn't find an engraver and publisher to undertake the project which is considered to be the first comprehensive study on the anatomy of horses. Stubbs even did the etching of the plates himself. The Anatomy of the Horse was published in 1766 aimed at painters not the scientific community and launched Stubbs' career as
as Equine painter.
According to the esteemed zoologist E.Ray Lankester (we met him in the Blog on Vanity Fair) Stubbs achieved the first modern example of the flying gallop in an engraving, done in 1794, of a horse called Baronet.
Following Stubbs’ example, this attitude was generally adopted in English paintings. We will have a look at a couple more English artists and then move off shore. Here we have Match between Eagle and Eleanor by Benjamin Marshall (1768-1835) its not quite the flying gallop but I rather liked the image.
But my favourite of this period, especially as it depicts a work horse, is The Equinest by James Ward (1769–1859) who specialised in paintings animals and was the great grandfather of Leslie Ward (Spy from Vanity Fair). DNA does have something to do with artistic ability!
I also rather like Outside the Stable by Henry Thomas Alken (1785-1851)
And Farmyard Friends by John Frederick Herring Senior (1795-1865)
If any society loved the horse as much as the English it was the French. The French Romantic painter Theodore Gericault introduced the flying gallop into France with his Le Derby de 1821 à Epsom which I believe now hangs in the Louvre.
And another French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863) also portrayed horses in many of his artwork and in a very different style. Here is his A Moroccan Saddling a Horse.
Most of us know the wonderful racing scenes painted by Impressionist Edgar Degas.
My favourite is Chevaux de course devant les stands painted in 1866.
Degas of course is also known for his paintings of ballerinas which from all accounts he saw as just another example of animals. Sorry to shock you. Degas wasn’t a particularly nice person it would seem.
Aimé Nicolas Morot (1850–1913) was another French painter who did many works depicting horses, bulls and lions.
He also worked in bronze as demonstrated here in Le Fauconnier (1907)
I can't leave today without showing you a little of the way our American cousins perceived the horse in their culture.
When I was a rebellious teenager and anti British culture (I thought I was annoying my mother) I fell in love with the Wild West and all it embodied. While everyone else was reading the British classics I was reading about the American frontier. Perhaps that’s why my Windows on a Time paintings have a Wild West look about them! So let's look at a couple of paintings of the West by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) who was a German-American painter and belonged to the Hudson River School that we covered in the Blog a little while ago. You will see the incredible light captured by Bierstadt, the signature of the Hudson River School painters.
And this one I wanted to share, not for the horses, but for the magnificent atmosphere.
One of my most favourite artists of all time is the American Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). I love all his works and we will return at a later date to look at some more of his works. You might remember I showed you one of his paintings when we were looking at images of corn fields. Today we will take in three of his paintings of horses and you see his talent doing a flying gallop towards you. The first is South Cushing (1955)- tempera on panel. Tempera is a method of painting with pigments mixed with a water-soluble binder medium such as egg yolk.
Sorry but I cant find the title for this one.
And this one is The Brothers.
If you have time I highly recommend you take time to check out the Official site for Andrew Wyeth and you will understand why I admire his work so much.
There is so much to cover. We need to look at the horse in Cubism, Surrealism and Expressionism, the 20th Century and beyond. And I have just remembered the Uffington White Horse and the Westbury White Horse in England so we will continue Horses in ArtBlog tomorrow.