Fate of the Animals by Franz Marc

Fate of the Animals
Expressionism, Der Blaue Reiter
Oil on canvas
Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland

The ‘Fate of the Animals’ is the imagery of annihilation as seen by the animals. Sharp angles and jagged shapes convey Marc’s jaded view of the relationship between humanity and the natural world. The painting serves a premonition of the horrors of war with the world being totally ripped apart. The fantasy in this painting has turned dark and foreboding. Fire rains down from the skies and fallen trees jut out from the burning embers of the brush. An inescapable demise. An apocalyptic vision of the coming war yet despite the chaos and destruction Marc manages to create an ordered and balanced composition. In the central foreground stands a blue deer, a symbol of hope suggesting the artist had a more hopeful vision for the future. The painting style suggest Marc had a positive view of the destruction, a necessary step before society could be rebuilt, allowing the viewer to not only see the tragedy and death, but also progress.

Franz Marc
Expressionism, Der Blaue Reiter
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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