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Painting of a Horse, Lascaux Cave

Painting of a Horse, Lascaux Cave


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Painting of a Horse, Lascaux Cave - History

From cave paintings to Cubism, nearly every major period in art history can be illustrated with a horse, as no other animal in Western Art has been represented in such a variety of styles.

Horse Painting, c.15,000 BC, Lascaux Caves, France

Horse Heads on Corinthian black-figure plate, 600&ndash575 BC, Kunstareal State Collections of Antiques, Munich

By the 5th century BC, there already were paintings about the horse as a sculpture:

Foundry Painter, Athena in the Workshop of a Sculptor Working on a Marble Horse, c.480 BC, Kunstareal State Collections of Antiques, Munich

Ancient Rome used the equestrian statue as a way of celebrating important men, but most of the statues were eventually melted for metal, so only one has survived:

Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, 160-180 AD, Capitoline Museums, Rome

The convention of representing powerful people on horseback did not disappear in the Middle Ages, but the horse is never represented for its own sake in Medieval Art, which mainly highlights its military and agricultural roles:

Battle of Hastings, scene 55 from the Bayeux Tapestry, 1070s, William the Conqueror Center, Bayeux, France

Limbourg Brothers, October in Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 1412-1440s, Musée Condé, Chantilly, France

The Renaissance brought back the Roman tradition of the large equestrian statue, the first being Donatello&rsquos Gattamelata:

Donatello, Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata, 1446-1453, Padua &mdash Photo by Mary Ann Sullivan

Then the 1600s saw the confirmation of the portrait on horseback as a genre:

Diego Velázquez, Equestrian Portrait of the Count of Olivares, 1630s, Prado Museum, Madrid

As well as the rise of animal painting, with the horse represented for its own sake:

Paulus Potter, The Piebald Horse, 1650s, L.A. County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

The absolute master of horse painting, however, remains the 18th-century English painter George Stubbs:

George Stubbs, Whistlejacket, c.1762, National Gallery, London

George Stubbs, Mares and Foals in a Landscape, 1760s, Tate Britain, London

In the 1800s in France, Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix brought a Romantic sensitivity and drama to the representation of horses:

Théodore Géricault, Grey-White Arab Horse, c.1812, Fine Arts Museum, Rouen

Eugène Delacroix, Arab Horses Fighting in a Stable, 1860, Louvre Museum, Paris

Horses can also be found in the Impressionist paintings of Edgar Degas, who captured snapshots at the races:

Edgar Degas, At the Races: Before the Start, 1892, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond

Even Wassily Kandinsky, who claimed to be the first abstract painter, could not escape the horse:

Wassily Kandinsky, Rider, 1911, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Nor could the Cubists (the horse&rsquos head is in the upper right-hand corner):

Jean Metzinger, Woman with a Horse, 1911, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

So if you find yourself looking at a painted or sculpted horse, remember that it&rsquos part of a history of representation that dates back about 17,000 years and includes nearly every major movement or period all the way up to World War II, making the horse the most widely represented animal in Western Art.


Lascaux I

The original Lascaux Grottoes consist of a main cave 66 feet wide and 16 feet high, plus several smaller galleries. The walls and ceilings of the caves are decorated with some 600 painted figures and almost 1,500 engravings in total.

The subjects of the paintings are almost entirely animals, some of which are now extinct. The horses, with small heads and hooves and round bellies, resemble the Przewalski horse of Asia and horses depicted in Chinese paintings. The deer are graceful animals with fine sets of antlers.

The bulls that feature prominently in the paintings are actually aurochs, a horned bovine species that went extinct in the Middle Ages. They are often shown in three-quarters view, whereas the other animals appear mainly in profile.

There are also six cats, two male bison, and an unidentified two-horned animal (confusingly nicknamed “the unicorn”) that may be a mythical creature. A rare narrative scene may depict a hunting expedition or a shamanistic ritual. Finally, there are repetitive patterns of intriguing geometric designs, including rectangles and jagged lines.


Contents

Prehistory Edit

The horse appeared in prehistoric cave paintings such as those in Lascaux, [1] estimated to be about 17,000 years old.

Prehistoric hill figures have been carved in the shape of the horse, specifically the Uffington White Horse, an example of the tradition of horse carvings upon hill-sides, which having existed for thousands of years continues into the current age. [2]

The Upper Palaeolithic Vogelherd figurines discovered in Germany, miniature sculptures made of mammoth ivory attributed to paleo-humans of the Aurignacian culture that are among the world’s oldest-known works of figurative art, include a figure of a horse.

Ancient World Edit

The equine image was common in ancient Egyptian and Grecian art, more refined images displaying greater knowledge of equine anatomy appeared in Classical Greece and in later Roman work. [3] Horse-drawn chariots were commonly depicted in ancient works, for example on the Standard of Ur circa 2500BC.

The Greeks and Romans invented the equestrian statue the best surviving example being the Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome. The Horses of Saint Mark are the sole surviving example from Classical Antiquity of a monumental statue of the Quadriga.

The horse was less prevalent in early Christian and Byzantine art, overwhelmed by the dominance of religious themes.

Renaissance and after Edit

The Renaissance period starting in the 14th century brought a resurgence of the horse in art. Painters of this period who portrayed the horse included Paolo Uccello, Benozzo Gozzoli, Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Raphael, Andrea Mantegna and Titian. In 1482 the Duke of Milan Ludovico il Moro, commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to create the largest equestrian statue in the world, a monument to the duke's father Francesco, however Leonardo's horse was never completed, (until it was replicated in the late 20th century).

In the Baroque era the tradition of equine portraiture was established, with artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck and Diego Velázquez portraying regal subjects atop their mounts. Equine sporting art also became established in this era as the tradition of horse racing emerged under Tudor patronage. [3]

18th and 19th centuries Edit

George Stubbs born in 1724 became so associated with his equestrian subjects that he was known as "the horse painter". A childhood interest in anatomy was applied to the horse he spent eighteen months dissecting equine carcasses and had an engraver produce book plates of his studies. These anatomical drawings aided later artists.

The mid 18th century saw the emergence of Romanticism, French artists Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix were proponents of this movement and both portrayed the horse in many of their works.

Equine sporting art was popular in the 19th century, notable artists of the period being Benjamin Marshall, James Ward, Henry Thomas Alken, James Pollard, John Frederick Herring Sr. and Heywood Hardy. Horse racing gradually became more established in France and Impressionist painter Edgar Degas painted many early racing scenes. Degas was one of the first horse painters to use photographic references. [3] Eadweard Muybridge's photographic studies of animal motion had a huge influence on equine art as they allowed artists greater understanding of the horses gaits.

Rosa Bonheur became famous primarily for two chief works: Ploughing in the Nivernais (in French: Le labourage nivernais, le sombrage), [4] and, The Horse Fair (in French: Le marché aux chevaux) [5] (which was exhibited at the Salon of 1853 (finished in 1855) and is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City. Bonheur is widely considered to have been the most famous female painter of the nineteenth century. [6]

Isidore Bonheur, the younger brother of Rosa Bonheur, is known as one of the 19th century's most distinguished French animalier sculptors. [7] [8] He modeled his sculptures to catch movement or posture characteristic of the particular species. Isidore Bonheur achieved this most successfully with his sculptures of horses, usually depicted as relaxed rather than spirited, and which are among his most renowned works. [9]

20th century Edit

Sir Alfred Munnings was an acclaimed painter working in England during the 20th century, he was elected president of the Royal Academy in 1944. He specialised in equine subjects, including horse racing, portraiture and studies of gypsies and rural life.

Mark Wallinger bought a chestnut racehorse and named her A Real Work of Art, as a readymade. The project also involved having 50 statuettes of a jockey on a chestnut horse, which have been exposed in art galleries around the world. [10]


The Cave Paintings of the Lascaux Cave

The Symposium "Lascaux and preservation issues in a subterranean environment" has generated huge interest, including in the press: out of the 267 registered participants, 21 were journalists. It has also sparked international interest: other than France, seventeen countries from all continents were represented (South Africa, Germany, Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Spain, United States, Italy, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Portugal, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Zambia).

The Symposium purported to be "open", since anyone could register on-line and freely participate if they wanted to. The sheer number and diversity of participants show that it was truly a great success. The sessions (including debates) were perfectly bilingual (English and French), thanks to simultaneous translation.

After these two particularly rich and dense days, my synthesis will focus on three main points: the development of the Symposium the official announcements and main results recommendations for the future.

The development of the Symposium

Firstly, I would like the Presidents of the sessions and the participants to excuse my stringency regarding the schedule. It had to be strict and as such it was. Contrary to what happens in most meetings of this type, we began each session right on time and all communications remained within the given time frame. This was a necessary condition so that the debates could last just as long as the presentations, whether questions were asked on all topics or diverse opinions were shared and discussion then followed. I would like to thank wholeheartedly all participants for their consented efforts. In fact, each person took it so much to heart not to exceed their half hour of communication that we were left with extra time (approximately one hour and a half in total) for the debates.

The presentations, which can be viewed on-line, were focused on the main elements of the preservation of Lascaux and the decorated caves, as well as on the history of Lascaux, the problems faced, measures taken and the current condition of the cave. Our colleagues from other countries, either speakers (Japan, Spain), or expert special guests (South Africa, Germany, Australia, United States, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Czech Republic), brought valued comparisons and shed different light on the topic. In fact, if the preservation of cave art is a shared issue and if there are so many threats to this essential heritage, there are many problems and solutions and we can only learn from each other.

The many accounts given during and after the Symposium prove that the high quality of communication, along with the freedom and richness of the debates were recognized and appreciated. This meeting therefore satisfied its objective. All the facts regarding Lascaux were clearly presented, including the mistakes made. The debates went as planned, without concession or stonewalling, in complete transparency, whether it was with the decision-making process, the events which occurred, analyses carried out, obstacles or difficulties faced or perspectives for the future.

If it is obvious that not everything has been settled, that the sickness is not yet cured and that the Symposium could not bring a miracle cure, we can only hope that the misunderstandings which may have existed about the events of the last few years will be cleared up for those who really care about one thing: saving Lascaux.


Prehistoric Horses

On 8 September 1940, Marcel Ravidat was walking through the woods near his home in Montignac when his dog, Robot, suddenly disappeared. After a hasty search, Marcel found him at the bottom of a shallow pit. When Marcel jumped down to rescue the frightened dog, however, he noticed a small, very deep hole. His heart leapt. Legend had it that a secret tunnel leading to a nearby chateau was hidden somewhere around there – and he felt sure this was it. Four days later, he came back to explore with three friends. Squeezing through the narrow opening, they gingerly worked their way down a 15m shaft, until they found themselves standing in an enormous cave. At first, they struggled to see much by the pale light of their oil lamp. All of a sudden, one of them gave a cry and pointed at the wall. To their amazement, ranged along the length of the cavern was a vast cavalcade of animals, painted in the most vivid colours.

The Lascaux cave paintings, as they would soon be known, proved to be one of the most extensive and complete examples of Palaeolithic art in Europe, if not the world. Now dated to c.15000 BC they comprise a dazzling assortment of images, including some 6,000 representations of animals. Though painted by several different social groups, they are remarkable for the technical sophistication with which they were rendered. A range of pigments was used, including red hematite, yellow goethite, and black manganese. These were mixed with a binding agent, such as animal fat, clay, or water, to produce a rudimentary paint, or ground into a powder and ‘spat’ or blown onto the wall through a reindeer bone. Some of the paintings are so high that they can only have been reached using a specially built scaffold while to produce others, the artists would have had to clamber down into a ‘well’.

A number of different animals are depicted, including stags, ibex, bison, aurochs (an extinct species of wild cattle), felines, a bear, a bird and even a rhinoceros. But by far the most common are horses. Unlike other creatures, which tend to be concentrated in certain places, horses are everywhere – and in huge numbers. By one estimate, they account for no less than 60 per cent of all identifiable animals in the Lascaux complex.

What is most striking about these horses is the intimate, even affectionate, familiarity with which they are portrayed. With their stocky build, short legs and spiky mane, they look similar to Przewalski’s horse, still found in Mongolia today. Though they are shown in a variety of different shades and patterns, most appear in their ‘mating’ coats, with dun-coloured hair and occasionally a pale or dappled underside. Some are standing, others are walking. More often than not, they are galloping – racing across the grasslands of prehistoric France, or fleeing an unseen foe.

Detail of cave painting © akg-images.

The frequency with which they appear is puzzling, though. After all, horses were not domesticated until at least 10,000 years afterwards and, though earlier cultures are known to have relied on them for both meat and hides, the same cannot be said for the communities which inhabited Lascaux. On the basis of bones found in the caves, it appears that reindeer were by far the most important source of food. Horses, by contrast, seem to have been rarely on the menu.

So why were the Lascaux painters so obsessed with them?

The cave before the horse

To answer this question, we first have to ask what purpose Palaeolithic cave paintings were meant to serve. This is a thorny problem, however. In the absence of any texts, which might give us a clear impression of the artists’ visual culture, belief system and relationship with the natural world, it is difficult to say anything about how the Lascaux cave paintings were meant to be understood, let alone why horses played such an important role in them. So difficult is it, in fact, that some archaeologists have questioned whether anything meaningful can be said about their function at all. According to Paul Bahn, it is a dubious enterprise at best. ‘If the artist’s testimony is unavailable’, he has argued, ‘the interpretation of the content of rock art is largely speculation, and to pretend otherwise is dishonest or an illusion.’ Others, however, are not so pessimistic. Emmanuel Anati, for example, has pointed out that, since Palaeolithic people were presumably able to understand the Lascaux cave paintings without recourse to anything beyond their own experience, we should be able to as well it is just a matter of ‘getting into the right state of mind’.

But what is the ‘right state of mind’? And how should we ‘get into’ it?

Hunting magic

One of the earliest attempts to grapple with this problem was made by Abbé Henri Breuil. A pioneering scholar of Palaeolithic art, he was the first to study the Lascaux site systematically. In his view, the paintings could best be understood by analogy. Recognising that they had arisen from the daily experiences of a society that depended on hunting for its survival, he sought to explain their purpose by looking at how apparently similar cultures used such images in his own day. As an example, he chose the Arrernte people of central Australia. Though not alike in all respects, they, too, were hunter-gatherers, who frequently depicted animals in their rock art and, since they viewed images as a form of ‘sympathetic magic’, Breuil assumed that the Lascaux painters had done the same.

The way it worked was simple. For Palaeolithic societies, Breuil argued, an image was the animal it represented – to such an extent that whatever happened on a cave wall would magically happen in real life. This was particularly true of the Lascaux horses. By painting pictures of horses being pierced by spears, Breuil claimed, the artists were ensuring the success of the next hunt. And in showing them in great herds, often in their mating coats, the hunters were willing there to be a plentiful supply of potential prey.

Marcel Ravidat (second from left) and Henri Breuil (right) at Lascaux’s entrance, 1940 © Getty Images.

There were, however, two fundamental problems with this. On the one hand, Breuil’s comparison between the Arrernte and the Lascaux peoples seems dubious at best. While there may be a few superficial similarities between the two, it is difficult to believe that the practices of a modern Australian society share all that much in common with a Palaeolithic culture on the other side of the world. On the other hand, Breuil’s ideas about ‘sympathetic magic’ are difficult to reconcile with what we know about the animals depicted at Lascaux. As we have already seen, horses were simply not an important enough part of the creators’ diet to merit such ‘magical’ attention while other animals, far from being prey, were positively dangerous. In one scene, a man is actually being killed by a bison – hardly the fate anyone would want to conjure up!

Structures and shamans

In the 1950s and 1960s, an alternative approach was proposed by Andrei Leroi-Gourhan and Annette Laming-Emperaire. In the belief that the cave paintings were a superficial expression of the deeper structures of thought characteristic of the society which created them, Leroi-Gourhan and Laming Emperaire attempted to look for hidden ‘patterns’ in the caverns and to attribute meaning to the distribution of abstract symbols and animal forms. On this basis, they suggested the cave could be read as the reflection of a spiritual world view based on the contrast between male and female. Thus, dots, dashes, bison and auroch were ‘masculine’ and ovals, squares, triangles and horses were ‘feminine’. That horses were shown in their ‘mating’ coats was hence testimony to a powerful association between women and fecundity while the frequency of their appearance was probably due to the importance of reproduction and nurturing to an increasingly settled, if still vulnerable, society.

The sheer arbitrariness of the approach was, however, difficult to overlook. In the 1990s, therefore, a third interpretation was put forward by the South African archaeologist, David Lewis-Williams. This returned to the idea that the paintings might have had some magical qualities. In a ‘New Age’ twist, however, it was based as much on neurology as on analogy.

For Lewis-Williams, the key to the cave’s purpose lay in the abstract symbols. Noting that they were common to Palaeolithic art, he postulated that they were ‘form constants’ – geometric patterns commonly seen by people in a state of sensory deprivation or during drug-induced hallucinations. Since similar form constants commonly appear in images made by shamans – who often enter trance-like states for ritual purposes – he concluded that the Lascaux artists were likely to have been shamans, too. This suggested that the paintings were a record of the visual phenomena experienced during ceremonial ‘voyages’ to a spirit world – and that the animals represented the shadowy entities with which they sought to commune in the hope of healing sickness, changing the weather, or securing food. In this reading, horses would appear as a particularly important spirit, albeit one whose significance remains obscure.

Detail of cave painting © Bridgeman Images.

Ingenious though it may be, however, Lewis-Williams’ ‘neurological’ approach is no more compelling than the others. Indeed, it actually combines the weaknesses of both. Not only is it wildly – even recklessly – conjectural, but the assumption of a common form of shamanism across millennia and continents seems untenable.

Equus

So where does this leave the horse? After decades of trying to read into the Lascaux paintings, archaeologists have recently begun looking around them – that is to say, at the caves. When confronted by the scale of the images, it is sometimes easy to forget that these were spaces occupied not only by artists, but also by reasonably large communities. They served as a site for butchering, eating, finding partners, raising children, recovering, remembering, learning and even teaching. And maybe this is all we really need to know. Imagine, for a moment, a Palaeolithic group seeking shelter in the cave after the hunt, huddling round the fire to discuss the day’s events, to share their hopes and fears, to try new things out, or to prepare their young for trials to come. What could have been more natural than to illustrate their talk with pictures – and to share in the making?

If such was their purpose, it would explain much about their visual choices. It would explain why they would have given so little space to animals like the reindeer, which they could already kill with ease, yet so much to those like the bison, which threatened them. It could also provide a reason for the presence of handprints, spear-like images and other geometrical shapes. But most importantly, it would account for the fascination with horses. Given that horses are known to have been killed, but only rarely and with difficulty, it is easy to see why their abundance, speed and mating season might have exercised such a potent hold over the imagination. Having seen herds galloping across the plains, how could these people not have longed to catch them? How could they not have marvelled at their swiftness and strength? Perhaps, by painting them, they were teaching, hoping, yearning. Perhaps they, like Peter Shaffer’s Equus, were simply crying out in love and defiance: ‘I am yours and you are mine.’

Alexander Lee is a fellow in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick. His latest book is Machiavelli: His Life and Times (Picador, 2020).


Horses and Art History

From cave paintings to Cubism, nearly every major period in art history can be illustrated with a horse, as no other animal in Western Art has been represented in such a variety of styles.

Horse Painting, c.15,000 BC, Lascaux Caves, France

Horse Heads on Corinthian black-figure plate, 600–575 BC, Kunstareal State Collections of Antiques, Munich

By the 5th century BC, there already were paintings about the horse as a sculpture:

Foundry Painter, Athena in the Workshop of a Sculptor Working on a Marble Horse, c.480 BC, Kunstareal State Collections of Antiques, Munich

Ancient Rome used the equestrian statue as a way of celebrating important men, but most of the statues were eventually melted for metal, so only one has survived:

Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, 160-180 AD, Capitoline Museums, Rome

The convention of representing powerful people on horseback did not disappear in the Middle Ages, but the horse is never represented for its own sake in Medieval Art, which mainly highlights its military and agricultural roles:

Battle of Hastings, scene 55 from the Bayeux Tapestry, 1070s, William the Conqueror Center, Bayeux, France

Limbourg Brothers, October in Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 1412-1440s, Musée Condé, Chantilly, France

The Renaissance brought back the Roman tradition of the large equestrian statue, the first being Donatello’s Gattamelata:

Donatello, Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata, 1446-1453, Padua — Photo by Mary Ann Sullivan

Then the 1600s saw the confirmation of the portrait on horseback as a genre:

Diego Velázquez, Equestrian Portrait of the Count of Olivares, 1630s, Prado Museum, Madrid

As well as the rise of animal painting, with the horse represented for its own sake:

Paulus Potter, The Piebald Horse, 1650s, L.A. County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

The absolute master of horse painting, however, remains the 18th-century English painter George Stubbs:

George Stubbs, Whistlejacket, c.1762, National Gallery, London

George Stubbs, Mares and Foals in a Landscape, 1760s, Tate Britain, London

In the 1800s in France, Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix brought a Romantic sensitivity and drama to the representation of horses:

Théodore Géricault, Grey-White Arab Horse, c.1812, Fine Arts Museum, Rouen

Eugène Delacroix, Arab Horses Fighting in a Stable, 1860, Louvre Museum, Paris

Horses can also be found in the Impressionist paintings of Edgar Degas, who captured snapshots at the races:

Edgar Degas, At the Races: Before the Start, 1892, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond

Even Wassily Kandinsky, who claimed to be the first abstract painter, could not escape the horse:

Wassily Kandinsky, Rider, 1911, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Nor could the Cubists (the horse’s head is in the upper right-hand corner):

Jean Metzinger, Woman with a Horse, 1911, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

So if you find yourself looking at a painted or sculpted horse, remember that it’s part of a history of representation that dates back about 17,000 years and includes nearly every major movement or period all the way up to World War II, making the horse the most widely represented animal in Western Art.


Stone Age artists were obsessed with horses and we don’t know why

Stone Age occupants of Europe had a strange fixation on horses. Almost one in every three animals they depicted on cave walls was a horse and the images are often larger and occupy more prominent positions than those of other animals. However, why the horse loomed so large in ancient minds may remain forever a mystery.

Since the 1990s, Georges Sauvet at the University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France, has been compiling a database of European Stone Age (or Palaeolithic) art. Today that database contains &hellip

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Painting of a Horse, Lascaux Cave - History

Two years ago, experts noticed a fungus spreading gradually along the floor, walls and part of the ceiling.

They tackled it with antifungal and antibiotic chemicals, but it was extremely resilient, and only now have scientists stopped it in its tracks.

However, after more than a year of decontamination the authorities say they have not managed to return the cave to its original state.

The origin of the fungus continues to baffle scientists, partly because such careful measures have been taken to preserve the cave complex.

It was closed to the public 40 years ago, after green algae started to grow on the walls - brought in by fresh air after the cave mouth was widened.

An air-conditioning system was put in place to maintain the environment, but despite this the fungus took hold.

Numerous fungicides and bactericides were used against it, but France's ministry of culture says it was "very hard to treat".

In a report in the French scientific journal La Recherche, scientists reveal that the fungus may have been introduced accidentally on the muddy boots of workmen overhauling the air-conditioning system.

It is thought to be a member of the Fusarium family, which is a well-known agricultural pest.

Two years after the fungus was first spotted, the culture ministry has confirmed that the historic monument with its frescos of bulls, horses and Palaeolithic animals is no longer under threat.

It says it has managed to contain the spread of the Fusarium , but still has to restore the cave's biological balance, which helped preserve the paintings in such remarkable condition for thousands of years.

It plans to bring together scientific experts in a range of fields to learn exactly how climatic, chemical, biological and other forces come together inside the cave.

It hopes this multi-discipline group will be able to get rid of the remaining fungus and prevent future contamination.


Whistlejacket

  • Artist: George Stubbs
  • Date: 1762
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Estimated value: $18 million (1997)
  • Where you can see it: The National Gallery, London, England

Whistlejacket is perhaps the most famous horse painting in art history. Measuring an incredible 115 by 97 inches, the painting is a portrait of real-life racehorse Whistlejacket.

Charles Watson-Wentworth, second Marquess of Rockingham, commissioned renowned English sports painter George Stubbs to do the magnificent portrait.

The most distinguishing characteristics of Whistlejacket are the fact that this famous racehorse is shown on its own, without any background, saddle or bridle, which confers the painting a sense of freedom and majesty.

Stubbs&rsquo masterpiece has also been praised by the way he captured the individuality and character of Whistlejacket, painting not just &ldquoa horse&rdquo but a specific horse with a real personality. (source).

In 1997, the Rockingham family sold Whistlejacket to The National Gallery of London for £11 million, about $18 million. (source).


Watch the video: Tarih Öncesi 101. Mağara Sanatı (July 2022).


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