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Franz Marc - Blue Horse I

by Laura Gerstmann

The Blue Horse I by Franz Marc floats clumsily on the canvas, seemingly with its hooves detached from the ground. With its head tilted to the side, it appears introverted, almost a little sad. It is one of the most famous horses in the world, one of Marc's major works and represents the artist group the Blue Riders. The Blue Horse is the epitome of the avant-garde at the beginning of the 20th century. 

Today it is one of the most popular paintings of all time, and yet at the time of its creation it was not only frowned upon, but even spat upon. People were unfamiliar with colorful and at the same time abstracted depictions of animals. The naturalistic way of depiction still prevailed too much. Today, these are exactly the reasons that make the horse so popular: expressive colors and a clear composition . 

Marc always pursues in his works the intention of emotionalizing his representations. This emotionalizing is also reflected in the color scheme, as he was intensively concerned with the effect of color and even developed his own color law. Thus blue stands for the "male principle": the spiritual, yellow for the "female principle" and red for the color of matter: the wild, untamed. The color blue is considered the most important for Marc, as a symbol of the spirit, as something non-material, which should represent the soul and spirit of nature and animals. 

Franz Marc - Blue Horse I

Oil on canvas, 1911, 112 x 84,5 cm, Lenbachhaus in Munich


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