PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED LADY
Oil on canvas
39 1/2 x 69 3/4 in. (100.3 x 177.1 cm.)
Signed in Tamil upper right
The sound of galloping horses seemed like a tremor to me.Its echoes do not seems to stop.
All these horses running together raise a cloud of dust.
Duldul - the horse from the battle of Karbala,
Ashwamedh - reaching up to Luv and Kush.
Luminous in their seven rainbow colours.
Horses harnessed to the chariot of the Sun God,
Bursting through the sky.
Passionate horses, screaming with desire.
The Chinese terracotta horses,
Folk horses from the village of Bankura,
Horses, with the beauty of a woman and the valour of a man.
Start shooting past me like arrows, swift from a bow.
For long years they have been galloping like this,
And I have watched them all along.
Suddenly, a black horse noticed me.
He paused, turned back and said to me.
"Go forth and see the world."
Indeed it is true.Seeing the world is to understand one's own existence.
Husain knows this well.
Hence he never stays at one place for long.
M.F. Husain (Rashda Siddiqui, In Conversation with Husain Paintings, New Delhi, 2001, p.114)
‘Against a strongly racing line, as in the paintings with horses, flat interrupted surfaces of colour are used to arrest movement, place power on a leash as it were, thereby at once controlling and accentuating it. Colour itself is usually applied in a mixture of brush and knife, in swift sure strokes. The result of all this is a rich and vital art, an abstraction of power, movement and feeling in rare balance.’ (Shiv S. Kapur, Husain, Lalit Kala Contemporary Series, New Delhi, 1961, p. viii)
Husain was deeply influenced by horses, and they resonated with him on both artistic and religious levels. The role of the animal in the story of the martyrdom of Imam Husain, and the well known story of Ashwamedha and the battle between the horses and ancient princes, combined with the Sung dynasty rendering of horses he saw during his visit to China in 1952 and Mario Marini’s equestrian sculptures he saw on his visit to Europe in 1953, all contributed to his own intuitive visual expression of these powerful, graceful creatures.
Executed in soothing, light tones of grey, white and a hint of yellow, the choice of an almost monochromatic palette envelopes the current painting with a sense of serenity and calm. The horses fill the foreground; five thundering down chasing the Sun, heads and necks low, while two linger behind, standing tall and frontal, legs lifted high, nostrils flaring and heads definitively tossed back. The scale of the canvas has allowed the artist to extend the horses’ bodies, accentuating the long muscular necks, thereby emphasising the idea of speed. The liberal use of a palette knife to execute the animals set against a flat background lends a sculptural quality to the horses; infusing them with a dynamism and power unique to Husain’s ‘subterranean creatures.’ The unrestrained energy in the lower half of the canvas is further heightened by the contrasting stillness of the upper portion which Husain has deliberately left empty. The animals are thus projected to a transcendental realm that defies time and space.
About The Artist:
MAQBOOL FIDA HUSAIN (1913 - 2011)