Horses have been present throughout our history for hundreds of years. Charlemagne created the Roman Empire on horse back, farmers during colonial period helped start this great nation with the help of horses, and still today horses are an ever present part of our society. It is for these reasons that no other animal has been painted as much as the horse. I compared two paintings from two different time periods, from two different cultures, and from two different sides of the world.
The first painting is “Racehorse Regulus” by Richard Roper. The second painting is “The New Foal” by Tim Cox.During Ropers life in Britain (1730-1775) he painted numerous horse and wildlife scenes. While Cox was born in America (1957-Present), the two painters share similar styles of art. Roper’s painting features a chestnut brown house being led by a young man. The young man is dress in appropriate horse back riding clothing for the 18th century, close fitting paints, riding shoes, and a matching jacket and hat.
Behind the horse and the young man, we are shown a vast horizon with a cloudy sky. The farm behind them seems to stretch to infinity towards, with rolling hills and dotted trees along the way.The sun is setting on the right side of the horizon, causing the clouds and sky to have a bright orange hue. The horse and young man are both walking, and appear to be almost in motion on the canvas. Cox has painted a very similar picture to roper, with the only difference in detail being landscape, clothing, and the event taking place.
In Cox’s painting there are two horses shown. Given by the title, a mother horse, and her foal. Similar to Ropers painting, the landscape behind the subjects is a rolling field that stretches for miles.The sun low in the sky gives the clouds a vibrant orange color, complementing, but not distracting from, the two horses and cowboy.
The cowboy is dressed in blue jeans, long sleeve shirt, and a black cowboy hat. This clothing helps give the viewer a better understanding of the timeframe in which this painting takes place. The cowboy is helping the young foal walk, while the mother horse is standing behind the two. The mother horse appears to be looking at her new foal over the cowboys shoulder, while, it appears, attempting to regain her footing after giving birth.Although the two [human] subjects are wearing completely different clothing, they are both wearing the appropriate clothing for horse riding.
One thing that is primarily different between the two human subjects is that in “The New Foal”, he is as important as the horses are. Compared to “Racehorse Regulus”, where the young man seems to only be in the picture as the person leading the horse around. Both examples go in great detail to depict the action of the event, but “The New Foal” seems to include the cowboy in the action much more. Furthermore, “The New Foal” seems to have captured a very action-pack scene.The observer feels as they are right in the midst of the action. Where as in “Racehorse Regulus” the viewer is looking at more of a snap shot of the action. In this scene, the action is limited to the horse and rider simply walking through a field. Neither of the two paintings are still life by any means, “The New Foal” has the most action, and the observer will very much so notice this.
Although these images look very similar in style, and context, looking deeper into the paintings we see two completely different sets of circumstances.These two paintings are classic examples of two very different cultures in the horse world, English Style and Western Style. Despite the fact that these paintings come from different times, the difference in the two styles are very common to this day. In “The New Foal” we see a cowboy helping the new foal in the this world.
He wears well worn blue jeans, boots that the observer feels have had many miles on them, and a cowboy hat that protects his eyes from the sun. Every part of this scene has a purpose.The cowboy is more than likely a ranch hand, and the new foal will probably be used for many applications, be it as a means of transportation, or to simply pull a cart full of hay. This is very different from “Racehorse Regulus” which is very obviously English Style horsemanship. The rider is wearing very prim and proper clothing, the horse is well kept and maintained. This horse is very obviously a show horse.
The differences in these two paintings is very apparent. One is an example of the rugged and tough life on the western front. The new born foal is shown with muscles rippling.The observer can assume that these horses live in the environment shown, in a big field with miles from fence to fence. If they do not live in such an area, it can also be easily assumed that they experience this environment often. In “Racehorse Regulus” one might feel that once they day is over, that race horse is going home to a nice warm stall where it will be cared for hoof and mouth.
Though these paintings are from different time periods and different parts of the world, they both have very similarities. While on the surface these similarities might be obvious, beneath that surface are two very different scenes.