Galloping Horse Edvard Munch Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Norwegian artist Edvard Munch created Galloping Horse, an oil on canvas painting in 1912. It is among the pieces that the painter later replicated as pencil etchings. The artwork consists of six subjects - a horse, which is the central figure, and five humans.

It features the horse pulling a sleigh, galloping towards the viewer. As with most of Edvard's works, the title is straightforward and depicts a clear picture of the scene. In the painting, the horse is galloping down a narrow road with a guiding man standing on the sleigh behind it. Huge rocks are covering the sides of the road. On the left side are two men and on the right, are two young girls. The first aspect to notice about the panting is that the horse looks panicked. Its bewildered expression is evident in its eyes, which slightly turn to the right to look at the two girls.

In the same breath, the girls appear just as terrified of the horse. They are both clinging to the side of the cliff, hanging on for dear life. It looks as if they are scared of the beast running them over. The two men are standing still, looking at the horse while it passes through. Munch mixed the hues in this painting in a way that adds weight to the message. The horse is a rich brown with a darker mane that flows majestically behind it. In contrast, the ground below and behind is white. It is unclear if it is snow or rocks on the ground. One of the girls is wearing a pale yellow dress while the other is in brown. The side of the cliff is a rich green that blends into the surroundings perfectly.

On the opposite side, the men are in black and yellow, which add a sharp contrast to the brown of the horse and white of the ground in front of them. Apart from the colour, Munch uses size for contrast. The horse towers high above the guiding man and the people on the side of the road. Galloping Horse uses expressionism, which was the artist’s signature style. The painting has a subtle intensity that brings out emotions without being obvious. Although the features are not well-defined, they still say what Munch intended them to. In fact, the men’s facial features are barely visible, but the viewer can glean the blank, unbothered stare on their faces. The etched version of the painting maintains most of the elements in the piece.