Saturday, 1 June 2013


Years ago when I started this blog, one of my thoughts was to highlight a series of great horse's asses in art-- powerfully painted flanks that transform a whole picture.

After my first installment, I became caught up in exchanges with readers about aesthetics and metaphysics and other highfalutin stuff.  Today I realized that, seven years later, I haven't even made it to my second  horse's butt yet-- a sad state of affairs which I will now rectify.

Look at this fabulous, huge painting by Toulouse Lautrec from the Art Institute of Chicago:

Equestrienne (At the Cirque Fernando), 1887
 Lautrec was a brilliant graphic artist who frequently drew, rather than painted, with his paint brush.  This contributed a strong spine to many of his his paintings:

Nowhere was this done more powerfully than with this horse's haunches:

This ass is the engine that drives the whole painting.  Notice how the rubberized figures of the horse, the ringmaster and the rider are all foreshortened and stretched around the power of that butt.  The same with the curve of that striped barricade.

Perhaps Einstein developed his theory of relativity, about how spacetime curves around heavy objects, by studying this painting.  Someone should check to see if he was in Chicago at the time.