English Tourism Week: Horses in Art Reimagined at Watts Gallery

Down Lane



Inspired by the power of the horse's form, its strength and speed, and its relationship with people, artists have for centuries depicted horses as companions, prize-winners, entertainers and workers. The pictures and sculptures, however, almost always show horses and humans as equals in their task or status – neither dominates, but they rely on each other, respecting each other's strengths. This kinship is what the best artists of horses manage to convey. Notoriously difficult to draw (notice how many artists avoid horses!), horses have inspired countless artists – from the earliest cave art, through ancient Egyptian and Greek art, through the Renaissance (Leonardo da Vinci), the Baroque (Rubens and Van Dyck), and the 18th century (Stubbs), Impressionism (Degas), to the 20th century (Picasso, Elizabeth Frink), to name just a very few. Today's artists have many inspirations - and a high standard to follow – and a tough challenge in reimagining equestrian art for the 21st century.