February 29, 2020

I met Whistlejacket!

The enormous painting of Whistlejacket (George Stubbs, around 1762), is probably the most famous piece of realistic equine art ever made. The pose is clearly inspired by classical rider portraits, but Stubbs did everything he could to make the stallion look real. You can almost feel the tense muscles in his hindquarters and the soft skin around his armpits. Amazing. And this was achieved in a time when photography didn't exist! Scroll down to the last photo to see how...

He's huge! Much bigger than I expected, almost life sized.

Stubbs knew his dapple greys. So detailed!

Look at the grey mare! This man loved horses.

Stubbs dissected horses in his workshop, hence the stains on this preliminary sketch. His book on horse anatomy has been (and still is) a great source of information for equine artists.