Why are horse paintings so popular among art lovers and often chosen by those who want to decorate their interior with a painting? The answer is evident: a horse symbolizes freedom of spirit, power, nobility, grace and faithfulness – the qualities one prefers to enjoy. This article presents 12 masterpieces glorifying a wonderful creature accompanying humans for centuries, with a breathtaking combination of an outstanding artistic talent and mesmerizing beauty of a horse and its rider at the end of the review.
1. Whistlejacket (1762) by George Stubbs
A famous self-taught English artist George Stubbs created the most magnificent images of horses. These are them which embody all the qualities mentioned above. George Stubbs was lucky that his passion for racehorses attracted the attention of members of the British Jockey Club, who often commissioned paintings of horses and paid generously for them.
Stubbs' most famous painting depicts a prancing stallion nicknamed Whistlejacket. The painting was commissioned by the Marquis of Rockingham, the owner of the animal. In terms of composition, it is noteworthy that the large-scale painting is completely devoted to the image of a marvelous stallion.
Paintings ordered by some aristocrats are acquired by others two and a half centuries later, setting auction records.
2. Blue Horse I (1911) by Franz Marc
Franz Marc is a very peculiar German expressionist artist, the author of many unusual works including a series of paintings dedicated to blue horses that sometimes amazed his contemporaries. The horse depicted on this canvas is somewhat like a strong vigorous man in his prime. The work was performed in the original manner of the artist: broken lines, color conveys a special meaning, which makes the image somewhat weird. It touches the viewer with an elusive charm and sincerity. The blue color in the works of Franz Mark symbolizes strength and courage, but at the same time spirituality; yellow - femininity, softness, sensuality; red represents assertiveness and determination.
3. Napoleon Crossing the Alps (1801) by Jacques-Louis David
In May 1800, during a military campaign in Northern Italy, Napoleon became the organizer of one of the most successful mountain campaigns in history. The Alpine campaign of Napoleon made a great impression and was reflected in the works of European artists. The painting Napoleon Crossing the Alps was created by Jacques-Louis David a year after the events.
There are as many as five originals of this artwork, and all of them have survived to this day. The author wrote the first version by order of the Spanish king Charles IV and earned 24,000 livres for it. The picture was also liked by Napoleon himself, who ordered an option for himself. Jacques-Louis David made the third version for free for the Les Invalides in Paris. The master created the next version of the painting for the government of the Cisalpine Republic. In 1805, the fifth and last copy appeared from under his brush. This time David painted for himself. The painting, which brought him considerable profit, would hang near the artist's bed until his death.
4. The Boy Leading a Horse (1905-1906) by Pablo Picasso
“The Boy Leading a Horse” is one of the most famous paintings by Pablo Picasso, painted by the artist in the winter of 1905 - 1906 during the "rose period" in his work. Picasso planned to create a grandiose composition on a very large scale, in which the boy from this picture was to lead the horse by the bridle, along with several other riders to water and bathe. The picture is not finished, as evidenced by the fact that the boy does not even have a bridle in his hand, although the position of his right hand clearly indicates that he is leading a horse. Nevertheless, Picasso decided to leave it in this condition. The main attention is given to the image of a noble animal: beautiful, proud and strong.
5. The Horsewoman (1832) by Karl Bryullov
The Horsewoman is one of the most impressive paintings by Karl Bryullov. It was painted in 1832 in Milan by order of Countess Yulia Samoilova, who patronized the young artist and was his muse. Bryullov captured on canvas the relatives of the Italian composer G. Pacini - Giovannina, sitting on horseback, and Amazilia, admiringly looking at her. The charming appearance and dexterity of the graceful rider causes sincere admiration. The image of a skittish black thoroughbred horse contrasts with her light outfit, as well as with her calmness and self-confidence.
6. The White Horse "Gazelle" (1881) by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec
The image of the horse is also present in the works of post-impressionists. Henri Toulouse-Lautrec created several paintings of horses. One of them is a kind of portrait of a white horse. The animal looks a little tired. In the look, one can feel the wisdom of life, but the natural beauty and grace are not subject to adversity.