Thematic album with the images of horses in the museum Photo Gallery

Vigour, swiftness, sublime beauty, devotion and, at the same time, helplessness and vulnerability... A horse has been depicted in art for thousands of years, even before it was domesticated. Many artists and sculptors have drawn inspiration not only from the outward beauty of the animal, but have also experienced something more - the element of freedom that is hidden beneath the mane.

A horse was one of the first objects of visual art for ancient people. The images depicted in petroglyphic drawings demonstrated not only artistic skills of a primitive man, but also the appearance of ancient horses. An important find is a series of images of horses made by the ancient Assyrians, the best of which have come down to us in stone bas-reliefs. Four gilded copper muscular horses on St Mark's Basilica in Venice is another sterling example of excellent ancient statues.

Horses were an important part of Chinese life, symbolizing wealth and power. The tomb of the Qin Shi Huang Emperor with its terracotta sculptures is the best proof of this. Works of art depicting people and animals in realistic way appeared in the later Middle ages (the "Pre-Renaissance"). In the Middle Ages, and in subsequent eras, the horse has increasingly become a symbol of prestige and status. The equestrian portrait genre is gaining popularity as a form of ceremonial portraiture. Since the 17th century, the animalistic imagery, initially linked to landscapes, still life, battle scenes and everyday life, gradually became a separate genre. At the beginning of the 19th century, a new trend appeared in Western European, Russian and American cultures and soon became mainstream—Romantic period. Théodore Gericault (1791-1824) and Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863) were both the followers of the movement and both depicted horses in their art works. A certain hierarchy of the depicted horses appeared in the 19th century and still exists today - racehorses are top choice and popular in the art world. The second half of the 19th century saw the flowering of the Realistic genre in Russia, when the Itinerants for the first time painted a horse-toiler that assists man. Remarkable realistic paintings of horses by Russian artists Nikolai Egorovich Sverchkov, Valentin Alexandrovich Serov, Vasily Ivanovich Surikov.

Various artistic themes developed in the animalistic genre: war, hunting, horseracing, the American west and "horse portraits". The image of the horse has been transformed over time, from a humble depiction of the animal as a part of nature and environment, to a friendly anthropomorphized representation, with bright inner world, where the animal became a companion and friend to man, sharing his joy and miseries. Sculptural representations of horses can be conveniently classified into equestrian statues and art works representing the personified animals, whether cast in bronze or carved in stone. The museum Collection section "Sculptures" features sculptures of horses by Pyotr Karlovich Clodt (1805-1867), Eugene Alexandrovich Lanceray (1848-1886) and Paolo Troubetzkoy (1866-1938).

For the Horse Day, we have prepared a themed photo album with images of horses from the museum Collection exposition.

On the front cover “The Taming of the Horse” mantel clock (fragment). France, Paris, the 1860-1890s. Le Roy & Fils