The Timeless Appeal of Horses
By Max Gillies
Horses have played a starring role in art from its very beginnings. On the walls of the Chauvet cave complex in southern France – believed to be approximately 30,000 years old – they appear prominently among the animals these prehistoric artists recorded. And of course horses’ dynamism drives forward the procession depicted in the British Museum’s Elgin Marbles (5th century BCE), which originally adorned the Parthenon in Athens.
From the Crusades and Genghis Khan to Columbus and the Wild West, horses have featured in human history every step of the way, universally revered for their speed, power, grace, intelligence, and nobility. When we learn of horses being eaten by famine victims or dispatched to the glue factory, we are instinctively repulsed because they are not merely animals to us: they are somehow a version of our better selves, regardless of whether we have mounted one, or even touched one.
Artists today are just as inspired by horses as their predecessors were. Illustrated here are images that capture horses in various modes. The artists represented here are sustaining mankind’s timeless love of a unique creature that will — literally — never go out of style.
11 Contemporary Paintings of Horses
Related Article > On Painting Horses
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