Like many of you, German artist Franz Marc loved animals. One of his paintings, called The Blue Horse, is world famous. The artist used unusual colours for this picture. He felt that colours had special meanings — blue was a male colour that stood for calm and peaceful behaviour. Yellow was a female colour, gentle and happy. Red was the colour of war and violence. Horses made him think of freedom and a pure spirit.
In the painting, a blue horse stands with his head thoughtfully tilted. In the background there are bright brown, yellow, and green hills. Franz Marc painted this and other paintings of animals before the start of World War I. This was a time when many people were behaving in dangerous and violent ways. To Franz Marc, animals were better than human beings.
It’s about feeling
This style of painting where objects are not exactly the shape or colour that you find in real life is called abstract expressionism. In expressionism, the shapes and colours tell us how the artist feels about the subject. This painting became famous because the artist got together with other artist friends and created a special group called The Blue Rider. The group was formed in the same year he painted the picture of The Blue Horse. Other artists in the group like Wasily Kandinsky and Paul Klee also became famous.
In 2012, the German government issued a postage stamp with a picture of The Blue Horse to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of its creation. Children’s author Eric Carle was inspired by the painting, and wrote a book called The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse . Eric Carle wrote this book to tell children that they don’t always need to follow rules when they paint. They can choose to paint their animals in any colour they wish to.