16. Stallions and Spectators, Lipizzaners

Joe Thomson, Artist, 03/29/2013, p1 of 1


My wife Linda and I visited in 2011, the Spanish Riding School, next to the Hofburg Palace, in Vienna, Austria, to view the riding skills of the white Lipizzaner stallions and their dedicated horsemen who exercise them in a dignified, classical performance to enchant the audience with the intelligence of the horses' gentle and meticulous movements and group formations.

There are boisterous young Lipizzaner stallions in the company of older trained Lipizzaner stallions that perform many delicate maneuvers, sometimes singly or in multiple small groups, like the beginning, elegant repertoire of the ambulatory Dressage, the "Long Rein", the Airs above the Ground, the Quadrille and the final Advance of 8 white Stallions with their Riders in perfect harmony and discipline, briefly evoking a breathtaking, battle charge of horses, with their martially resplendent, uniformed riders, 200 hundred years ago.

The inspiration for the artist in the abstract line drawing of the beautiful Lipizzaner stallions and their uniformed riders is the emergence of the image of a single "centaur", man and horse as one creature, silently and unobtrusively becoming one entity, in a noble display of empathetic harmony.

The artist's interest here is to capture this magical transformation between man and horse that is revealed in the arena. The art idea is to capture not only the motions of man and animal but the platonic forms of "horseness" and "ridership" swirling and twisting while the spectators equally crane their necks to capture every part and nuance of their maneuvering gaits.

Linda and I also visited the Lipizzaner stud farm at the West Styrian village of Piber, 45km west of Graz and 230km south of Vienna, to view the playful young foals which are born with black coats to their brood mares which are white. The 430 years of the pedigree breeding and protection of the endangered Lipizzaner, by the lovers of horses, is itself a noble memorial to mankind's custodial stewardship of all the animal creatures that enrich the earth.

The artist's idea here is to use the technique of real collage to contrast the black coats of the playful and lively foals with the white coats of their intelligent and sensitive brood mares as they gambol in their nursery on the high mountain pastures at 1,500m.

The color collage entitled "Origin of the Species" is included in the photo gallery along with the abstract drawings of the ineffable essence of the Lipizzaner horse.