More about Artilleryman Saddling his Horse
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec loved horses almost as much as he loved prostitutes.
Unfortunately, poor Henri couldn’t go horseback riding anymore after he broke both of his thigh bones at the tender age of fourteen. Due to a bizarre mix of bad luck and inbreeding (no thanks to his aristocratic first cousin parents) this accident caused Henri’s legs to stop growing entirely and he was left with an adult body on tiny teenage boy legs.
The five foot tall Toulouse-Lautrec was able to live the equestrian life vicariously through his paintings, including this one of an artilleryman getting ready to ride off into the pleasant impressionistic woods with his pals. Henri was just 15 and still reeling from his broken thighs when he painted this portrait, but he’d clearly already decided that backgrounds are for the birds and put all of his energy into the painting’s two main characters.
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s unimpressive stature was definitely eclipsed by his talents as an artist. Although horses were his favourite subject as a young teenager and featured in almost all of his paintings at the time, Toulouse-Lautrec later moved on to painting women-- particularly prostitutes. Let’s just say Henri wasn’t horsing around. Both subjects hang side-by-side in bizarre juxtaposition at the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Henri’s hometown of Albi.