Thursday, August 14, 2014

Anthony van Dyck, A Grey Horse

A Grey Horse, before 1641, Dulwich Picture Gallery

Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) was a Flemish artist who is best known for his portraits of the English court, Charles I in particular.  Although this is a relatively minor work, I really love it.  Van Dyck managed to convey the movement and energy of this horse quite astonishingly.  The fluid brushwork is rather different from the painter's usual style (suggesting this may have been a sketch) but that is where all the life comes from.  The face and mouth portray the horse's fatigue, the mane reveals the blowing wind, and the play of light and dark on the chest convey the musculature.  I also think the imprecise background sets off the subject quite brilliantly.

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