Mares and Foals in a Mountainous Landscape George Stubbs 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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Mares and Foals in a Mountainous Landscape is one of the animal oil paintings by George Stubbs. The subject of mares and foals is a common one among Stubbs’ artwork, and this particular piece is among the different landscapes that he practised with.

Stubbs painted Mares and Foals in a Mountainous Landscape in 1769. Stubbs was famous for unique poses that brought out the best in his characters. In this painting, there is a large white mare, another small one, a bay mare and two foals. Although the horses seem like they have been posed randomly, they are set in a tight cluster that attracts the spectators' attention. The white mare standing on the right contrasts sharply with the brown and black of the bay mare and foal. The other two horses are also white, but they are not as bright as the biggest mare.

The five horses are standing under a big tree. Just beyond this scene, are cloudy mountains that look like they are touching the sky. As the sky stretches away from the mountains, it loses some of the clouds and becomes clear. To give the landscape the true English countryside treatment, the mountainous background has a lake in the middle. It has green riverbanks that are meant to show the fertility of the land.

George Stubbs has a knack for displaying the equine form and Mares and Foals in a Mountainous Landscape is a showcase of those skills. The silhouettes of the mare and foal are distinct. It is even possible to trace the dark mane of the bay mare, which shines down the crest of the horse. One of the horses has its head tilted sideways as if responding to a sound and Stubbs manages to present it in majestic detail. The spectator can see the shoulder muscles as they stretch with the movement. From the setting, it appears as if Stubbs had live animals to draw inspiration from as he painted.

The period between 1760 and 1769 saw the English artist release a series of Mare and Foals paintings, which included Mares and Foals in a Mountainous Landscape. Some of the mares were successful racehorses that had their paintings commissioned by their owners. Mares and Foals Without A Background, Mares and Foals in a River Landscape and Mares and Foals under an Oak are examples of other paintings that explored the same theme.