I have not taken a “Horses in Art” History class. I was recently reading the book, Horse Crazy by Sarah Maslin Nir and one of her chapters is about horses in history. Sarah talks about how long horses have been walking on earth and that the earliest drawings known to be created were of horses. The horse appeared in prehistoric cave paintings such as those in Lascaux, estimated to be about 17,000 years old. Sarah also wrote about her frequent visits to the private 5th floor of the American Museum of Natural History when she was a child in New York and observing the fossils and paintings on display there.
Horses in Art
When I look at my horse photos from the Spanish Horse Collection, they feel a bit nostalgic to me. I think it is the arch in the neck and the strength that comes out of the movement that stirs me to that feeling about these horses along with the backdrop of the marred stucco walls. These horses in art can transport me to imagining a Tuscan countryside: the “Old country” of cobblestones and streets with mature vines on buildings and the grounds that have been toiled by hooves along with the connection between a farmer and horse. For all of the strength that his muscles show off his eye still feels very kind to me as I look at him.
I feel like his gentle heart shows through all of his photos even though he is a muscular Stallion. This is what made our photo session so much fun to participate in. It’s that he is living art to me as I was able to capture some of this in our time together during this photoshoot. The movement and momentum with such a clear direction going towards the edge of the photograph and the mane moving due to the force of him pushing off into this direction in the round pen that he was in comes across. I love the silver in his mane coming through in his coat from his nose to his shoulders and then along into the tail. I found in editing the photos that his energy really felt like it came through to the lens and viewer as he charged around.
I wanted the viewer to connect to that feeling with him and the way it seems to come directly from his shoulders and neck right into his forehead as he moves around. I like that this is what feels like the old fashioned horses in art to me as I look at his photos from that day. The propulsion of his movement from the hind quarters is made even more palpable by the space between his jaw and his shoulder in this photo, culminating in the arch of his neck and into his poll and then down into his poll and then down into his angle on the cheek and into the dark of his gentle eye. He is a lovely horse in person.
As much as I enjoy capturing these Horses in Art, I can certainly imagine ancient times where humans wanted to draw what they were seeing and interacting with in their short lives.
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at these Arizona Galleries: Van Gogh’s Ear Gallery on Whiskey Row in Prescott, AZ and Coops Coffee House at Talking Rock Ranch. Several images are also available at The Phippen Western Art Museum