Eugene Delacroix - White Horse Frightened by a Storm (1824)
Wassily Kandinsky - Man on a Horse (or Lyric) (1911)
Twenty thousand years ago, Paleolithic ancestors of modern man ventured deep into caves to fill the walls and
ceilings with panoramas of horses, bison, mammoth and reindeer -- creating man's first visual record of his
relationship to the animal kingdom. Were these images intended to bestow primitive man with magical power over
the beasts? Perhaps so, although we may never know with certainty what motivated these first artists. It is just as
conceivable that they were also expressing -- dramatically and eloquently -- their awe and admiration for the
animals' power, energy and beauty.
Of course, man's preoccupation with animals did not end there. Every culture since the time of these ancient cave
"galleries" has reflected the importance of animals in its artwork. Viewed variously as sustenance or threat, pests or
servants, lowly or noble -- or simply as friends -- animals have been the inspirations for great works of art. Their
images, captured in drawings, paintings, and sculpture, reflect the mores and attitudes of the times -- and have
often served as vehicles of personal expression and experimentation for artists as well.
Eugene Delacroix's White Horse Frightened by a Storm and Wassily Kandinsky's Man on a Horse may hold a
special appeal for the children, for not only does each deal with subject matter near and dear to their hearts, but
each expresses emotions with which they can identify. In Delacroix's painting, we see a horse terrified by the
lightning and thunder of an approaching storm, and we all understand how that horse feels from first-hand
experience! Kandinsky's simple lines and bright colors express the pure elation and sense of freedom we might
enjoy flying across the landscape on the back of fast horse. Perhaps when the children see these paintings, they
will sense that these artists have a special feeling for animals too, just as they do -- and in this session of
GalleryTime, they will have the opportunity to translate tthese feelings about animals into images to share.
White Horse Frightened by a Storm Man on a Horse (Lyric)