Welcome to the brand new Arthive! Discover a full list of new features here.

Horse racing at Epsom

Théodore Géricault • Painting, 1821, 92×122.5 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Landscape, Genre scene, Animalism
Style of art: Romanticism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1821
Size: 92×122.5 cm
Artwork in selections: 34 selections

Description of the artwork «Horse racing at Epsom»

"Racing at Epsom" famous, but not the characteristic pattern for Theodore géricault. The artist here did not seem like himself: paint is much lighter, the volume is noticeably flatter, and horses in General may seem misspelled. Only later will become clear why Gericault abandoned the anatomical and photographic precision...

Wherever fate may lead géricault, everywhere he first went to the races or horseback riding in the stables or at the Racecourse. Coming to relatives in the vicinity of Rouen, with passion toured restive stallions. While living in Paris, received a special permit to work in the stables of Versailles. In Rome it is particularly impressive "moss" (see picture) is an athletic struggle between the horses and their drivers, constraining impulsive animals, so they do not burst at the start before the signal. Of course, being in England, géricault simply could not enjoy traditional British entertainment – Derby. Experts even claim that the painting depicts is not abstract horse racing, and the specific competitions in 1821, because it was then in the final three horses of different colors: Bay, gray and red.

In London, géricault rented housing from a dealer in thoroughbred horses Elmore, the true fan of horse racing. Horses with their wild indomitable energy was the subject of adoration Gericault – that they are Elmore converged. It is considered that the "Derby at Epsom" the artist wrote to Elmore – may be a sign of location, and possibly in the form of payment for the apartment: géricault was a dandy and a spendthrift, and by 1820 years from a condition left by his late mother, almost nothing left. In 1824, the year the 32-year-old géricault dies, and not having to end to pay off Elmore.

Who knows géricault's paintings "The wounded cuirassier"or "The Raft Of The Medusa will be amazed how much it changed its flavor in "the Races at Epsom," he became much lighter and more transparent. Before géricault stated: "The more the painting of shades of black, the higher its artistic value". Now the presence is limited to the black horse in the center. It is understandable that in England géricault became acquainted with the work of the great British landscape painter John Constable. The sky and greens in this picture is written under his direct influence.

To "the Races at Epsom" géricault portrayed other horses: muscular, straining "of all the tendons", relief, almost sculptural. And these horses seem flat, horizontally elongated, as if smeared on the canvas. In a similar way they portrayed the famous English painter of horses and biologist George Stubbs with which géricault was also familiar.

For the "Derby at Epsom" géricault shortly before his death, had received many critical kicks. Mocked him and said that even Amateurs know that front and rear legs can't be running simultaneously stretched in different directions, and the belly of the horse during the races does not fall to the ground. Disputes in the press did not cease after the death of the artist. When photography was invented, Newspapers have become in the proof of wrong géricault to publish the footage to prove: when the front legs when running is thrown forward, back yourself under the belly. Still later a lawyer paintings of géricault will be the sculptor Auguste Rodin. He will insist that the rights of Gericault, not photographers! Photographic frame captures a single moment of movement and thereby immobilizes the horse. And géricault in one position the bodies of their horses combines a number of dynamic moments in a split second, fixed one's eyes on the real horse racing, so horses in his "Derby at Epsom" really going full speed.

Author: Anna Yesterday