Jaguar Attacking a Horse by Henri RousseauBy Ritika Tiwari Wednesday, April 12, 2017 Art, AtoZChallenge
Why would a jaguar attack a horse? Can a jaguar even attack a horse?
May be jaguars are fast but horses have long limbs and that counts for something. I know that because I have short limbs and I know the struggle.
Not to mention, there is a weight factor in play as well. Jaguars inherently cannot be heavier than 100kg. On the other hand, a horse’s weight can go from 400-1000 kg. One kick from a horse and the jaguar wouldn’t even be able to get up.
So why would an artist paint a jaguar attacking a horse? Well, the same artist who has never been to a jungle - Henri Rousseau.
About Jaguar Attacking a Horse
Rousseau lived in France his whole life. With a city life, he never really had the opportunity to go out of France and see actual jungles, but he really wanted to paint jungles. So he decided to do his own research and find a way to paint them by visiting botanical gardens and circuses.
Considering how horses and wild cats were part of circus groups back in the day, its possible that Henri saw these animals there and decided to paint them together.
I tried zooming into the painting really hard and I even amped up the brightness to see if I could see the jaguar’s face, but it is nowhere to be found.
But I do love how the white horse, with his hairs flaring in the wind, is right in the middle of the painting and staring at the viewer. Even with the jaguar attacking, the horse doesn’t look scared, in fact I feel like it is trying to say - I got this bitch.
The plants and flowers in the painting very distinctively resemble Rosseau’s other jungle paintings, including the Dream, which I talked about last week.
In fact, I noticed, that Rosseau has a very signature style when it comes to painting leaves and flowers, they all look the same - The difference is only in their size.
My thoughts on the painting
Rousseau’s paintings are avant garde and quirky at the same time. They were done in early 1900s and yet, they still manage to look so modern and unique.
There is something so enticing about the white horse in the middle but I just cannot figure out what it is. I have been staring at it since the last five minutes and it feels like I just cannot look away.
May be, Rousseau didn’t want to depict a jaguar defeating a horse, may be he just wanted to do a painting about how a jaguar tried to attack a horse and couldn’t even pin him down.