Peindre les courses - Exhibition catalogue
The thoroughbreds launched at full speed, the shimmering crowds in the stands, the agitation and brilliance of the casacas are all elements that deeply marked artistic creation in the 19th century. Appeared in England and then in France, particularly under Louis XVI, equestrian races were an object of fascination for the great painters of modernity, Stubbs, Géricault and Degas, whose crossed views met for the first time in this work.
The horse enthuses painters with the elegance and power of its morphology but also with the grace of its movements. Stubbs, a pioneer in the study of the horse, will constitute a true anatomical Bible of the animal, elevating this meticulous observation to an art that will inspire its successors. Géricault copied his work and brought back from England the Epsom Derby in which he gave the horse's gallop an aerial dimension.
The environment of the races and their preparation will inspire Degas to create scenes set in a provincial and rural landscape. If the painters' horse is perhaps less dedicated to performance than the racehorse, it is not impossible that their aesthetic perfection has inspired the search for an ever more beautiful and faster horse. Horses are the object of a real obsession with the purity of the breed to the point of becoming true human creations. However, in 1872, a revolution took place: Marey and Muybridge's studies on horse locomotion by chronophotography proved the painters' inaccuracies.
Between scientific accuracy and the artist's freedom, Degas proclaimed: "We see as we want to see, it is false, and this falsity constitutes art". Faced with the claims of science, he thus marked the triumph of painting.
Exhibition Painting the Races, Stubbs, Géricault, Degas from June 16 to October 14, 2018, Domaine de Chantilly.
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- 29 cm x 23 cm
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- Loyrette - Donner