Artworks
The Large Blue Horses

Contributor

A lot of people prefer the company of animals to other humans, and Franz Marc felt the same way.

I always associate this painting with the Blue Rider group (der Blaue Reiter) from early 20th century Munich. A bunch of boys got together and wanted to make paintings that represented the universe, the heavens and Lord knows what else. The only reason I was able to recall the Blue Rider group upon looking at this painting is because the horses are…blue. Derp. Perhaps also why the painting is called…Blue Horses! All right, Mr. deMille, I’m ready for my PhD. 

But, terrible jokes aside; Marc’s painting is actually somewhat of an emblem of the Blue Rider movement. These guys were obsessed with things like color and the cosmos, and were looking for ways to make art without falling into the traps of traditional Western art history. Though a lot of them obliterated recognizable forms from their work altogether, Marc didn’t feel like he had to just 'cause everyone else was. Thus came into this world, these fat blue horses. From my days in drawing class, I know that getting a good sketch of a horse is close to miraculous. Clearly, Marc and I had the same struggles…except Marc just doesn’t seem to give a damn how anatomically correct his horses are. Nah, these blue beasts just bulge all over the canvas, their curvy forms like rolling hills in a landscape. 

Marc felt animals were just "purer" than humans and therefore a better subject for portraying all that cosmological crap. He, like other pals from the Blue Rider group, arranged the elements in his paintings as though he were creating a musical composition. And the blue paint wasn't random either. Blue was a symbol of masculinity in this group. Because blue is for boys, duh. The yellow bits were supposed to symbolize “the calm sensuality” of the female. Hunh. Never knew how patriarchal a color palette could be.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Blue Horses

Blue Horses or Die grossen blauen Pferde (The Large Blue Horses) is a 1911 painting by German painter and printmaker Franz Marc (1880–1916)

Background[edit]

In 1910, Marc was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), and was the center of a circle of German and Russian expatriate artists with August Macke, Wassily Kandinsky and several others whose works were seminal to the development of German Expressionism.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Blue Horses.