The Yellow Cow by Franz Marc

The Yellow Cow by Franz Marc

The Yellow Cow
1911
Der Blaue Reiter
Oil on canvas
The Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

Painted after his marriage to Maria Franck, ‘ The Yellow Cow’ is Marc’s homage to their union. The cow is a symbol of the security and safety he felt in this his second marriage. The artist employs colour symbolism, a technique pioneered by van Gogh, using colour to represent emotion and to humanize natural forms within the landscape. Symbolic of the feminine the large yellow cow with blue spots symbolizing masculinity is indicative of the merging of masculine and feminine emotions as in his marriage to Franck. Repetition of colour within the painting connects the animal with its landscape, particularly evident in the small group of red cows blending into the background at the left of the picture. The yellow cow dominates the foreground exuding a blissfully serene mood as it leaps over the landscape, its haunches echoed by the blue hills to give a sense of energy within the safety and happiness of the union.

Franz Marc

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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