The Tower of Horses by Franz Marc

Title: The Tower of Blue Horses
Date: 1913
Movement: Der Blaue Reiter
Media: Oil on canvas
Current Location: Missing since 1945

The Tower of Blue Horses is an example of Marc’s apocalyptic fears with the four blue horses representing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The stacking of horses one on top of the other on an ascending vertical plane allows the artist to avoid depth altogether and allowed Marc his trademark style of repeating lines and shapes. Grounded by a vertical line running at a diagonal from the right foreleg of the horse in the foreground to the sky separates into the two distinct areas of yellow and blue. The lack of depth in the arrangement of the horses adds to the tense mood of the painting. In addition, Marc adorns the chest of the foreground horse with a crescent moon, a common symbol among German Expressionists for the longing for the apocalypse to cleanse the world and start anew.

Artist: Franz Marc
Born: 8 February 1880, Munich, Germany
Nationality: German
Died: 4 March 1916, Braquis, France

Marc had a tumultuous impact on the Expressionist movement that evolved after World War 1. He favoured the symbolic potential of abstraction rather than Naturalism and Realism. Best known for images of brightly coloured animals, especially horses, which he used to carry profound messages about humanity, the fate of mankind and the natural world. His career was cut short when he was killed in action at the Battle of Verdun.

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