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PAINTING HORSES: George Stubbs, Painting Anatomy

Theme: Paintings and pencil drawings of horses, dogs and other animals.

Whenever I look at paintings of George Stubbs, I sincerely believe that he might have done all of his paintings while sitting on horseback. Such high spirited are his paintings; such energetic are his brush strokes and the colours. He loved horses and he painted them in every shape and size; and his stable never went our of stock.

Whistlejacket by George Stubbs

The Artist: George Stubbs (1724 – 1806) was nicknamed as the painter of animals. His paintings of animals, especially of the horses have made him an artist to be regarded equal to the great artists like Raynolds and Gainsborough. In earning this status, his knowledge about horses had played a great role. He had acquired the knowledge of the anatomy with care and keen observance of the horses around him. He had applied his knowledge of the anatomy of the horses into his art of painting; and the resultantly we got the master pieces in the form of his paintings of horses. The eye-catching feature in his paintings is the meticulous rendering of appearance of the horses in various postures. Apart from painting the marvelous figures of the horses, George Stubbs had written a book of with plates: the title of the book is , The Anatomy of the Horses.

The Art: George Stubbs painted the horses with the feeling of beauty and grace. He had painted the horses in the style of romanticism paintings, too. The depiction of the horses attacked by lions were among them. This dramatic paintings were part of his artwork done in following the 'emotionalism' attached with movement of romanticism. Here in this painting, we can observe how the artists had captured the action of the moment, lion attacking a horse.

Symbolic Meaning of Horse in Art

Horses were used for multi-purpose in past. In addition to their use in the battle field, they were usual vehicle for transportation. The artists painting the battle scenes or a person of a noble decent would paint horse. In modern time the use of horses are limited in films and the horse racing. We hardly see men or women mounted on horses except for a pleasure trip. In prehistoric cave paintings we can see the paintings of horses among other animals. The Renaissance Artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael had painted horses in their artworks.

Due to the extensive utility of the horse in human life, it has earned a symbolic meaning, too. The horse is regarded as the symbol of power, nobility and grace. The physical strength of horse has been companion of the man during wars and other difficult times. There is no other animal that is so natural companion of man as the horse has been. Naturally the horse has occupied its due and important share in the field of art, too. The paintings and sculptures of horses were common in ancient and medieval period. Horses were painted in ancient cave paintings; horses are painted in modern art, too.

In all the periods of history and civilization horse has remained the most useful animal for the mankind; may it be peaceful uses in agriculture or fighting in wars. Thus the horse has justified its symbolic meaning as the symbol of mobility, development, and nobility. [Images courtesy: Top By George Stubbs (1724–1806) Date of birth/death 24 August 1724(1724-08-24) 10 July 1806(1806-07-10) Location of birth/death Liverpool London Work location London, Rom, Marokko[see page for license], from Wikimedia Commons , Botom By George Stubbs (1724–1806) Date of birth/death 24 August 1724(1724-08-24) 10 July 1806(1806-07-10) Location of birth/death Liverpool London Work location London, Rom, Marokko [see page for license], from Wikimedia Commons ]

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