Monday Minstrel: West and East

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The painting above, by Anthony van Dyck. , depicts the English King Charles 1. Painted in 1637-38 it is a political statement more than a portrait. The horse is extraordinarily muscular in the chest and neck and has an extravagantly long mane. This dun (or buckskin) horse has a tiny head relative to the rest of his body. Van Dyck was certainly capable of painting something more realistic but he chose to paint the horse like this to depict a King who was powerful and in control of his country and his people. The horse however has a look of apprehension and unease. His ears are back, his eyes wide and his nostrils flared. Perhaps he knew something of the future that the King did not. Ten years after this painting was done King Charles 1 was beheaded by Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War.

The painting below is from Japan and was done in ink and color on silk by Kano Motonobu (1476-1559) who was a leading Japanese artist of his time.Β  Β Here is another impressive dun horse with a very prominent dorsal strip on its’ back. Riding the horse is the poet Sogi lio Sogizo (1421-1501). Here the spirited horse is ridden with ease by the wise poet whose face looks calm and almost meditative.

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Artists’ renditions of two dun horses ; one from the West and one from the East.Β  The dun or buckskin color is very popular today in the United States but is rare to nonexistent in the European Warmblood horses. It is found however in the Lusitano horses of Portugal and Spain.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Totally different countries/places but horses 🐎 looks so similar.. very interesting info ✌️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for the reblog Danny!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dray0308 says:

        You are welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing those interesting informations

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are welcome. I’m happy you found it interesting.

      Like

  3. Laura says:

    Beautiful descriptions Anne, I’ve always wondered why a horses head was painted so much smaller in proportion to its body when the rest of the painting was balanced and more realistic. I love the dun color, so stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes there are a number of portraits of kings in the same style. It looks rather odd but it is worth remembering that even the now famous artists had to make a living and depict the subjects in a flattering and impressive light! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Laura says:

        Oh you are so right, thank you for some clarity around those beautiful old paintings, I appreciate your insight.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          You are most welcome. Thanks for commenting.

          Like

  4. I really like the look of a buckskin. In person, however, not in paining! 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I do too. There is a Lusitano buckskin at my barn at the moment and it is nice to see.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Emma Cownie says:

    Very interesting – what is “Warmblood” horse? I have never heard the term before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      The term Warmblood covers all the breeds from northern Europe: Hanoverian, Westphalian, KWPN( Royal Dutch Warmblood), Holsteiner, Selle Francais etc. Basically the breeding originates from a cross of heavy horse and thoroughbred or Arab horses. Germany is best known for the Warmblood breeds and now they are bred in the US and also in England. But a stamp of approval from the German breed Verband is a big deal with the foals having to be seen by the officials and graded and a second grading done later . Only the best colts are allowed to remain intact and not be gelded as the breed standards have to be maintained. This does not mean they cannot go on to be successfull as riding horses. Valegro, Charlotte Dujardins gold medal winner was turned down at the stallion testing and went on to great heights in dressage at the Olympics.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        Wow – thanks I didn’t not know any of that!

        Liked by 1 person

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