Horsing around

English painter George Stubbs was born in 1724 and is known for his anatomically realistic, and impressive, horse paintings.

When it comes to horses, his artwork is often regarded as the best and it is easy to why. He would often paint for wealthy patrons and his most famous works include Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians and Whistlejacket.

Each minor detail from the realistic shine of the horses coat, to the visible shape of the animal’s ribs under its skin, to the thin bridle that lines the horses face is executed brilliantly and it is phenomenal to think that someone can possess so much skill.

What makes the paintings even more impressive is their size, attention to detail and realism. In fact, many of his paintings, including Whistlejacket, are true to size!

His work is classic and can be found in art galleries all over including Manchester Art Gallery, The National Gallery and at Tate Britain.

This highly regarded artist’s work is celebrated worldwide and according to The National Gallery: “Having studied anatomy, Stubbs’ pictures of horses are among the most accurate ever painted.”

As well as painting horses, Stubbs also specialised in painting dogs, hunting scenes and exotic animals including Zebras, Lions and Tigers. His work accurately portrayed how the upper-class English people of the 18th Century lived and the lives they lead.

Image Credit: Fine Art America

It truly seems that although George Stubbs did indeed master the art of painting horses that he could turn his hand to painting anything, and he even painted himself in a 1759 self-portrait. 

Studying the anatomy of the horse, Stubbs dedicated time to dissecting and drawing horses. In ‘George Stubbs Science Into Art’, a book which explores the life and work of Stubbs, it states:

“George Stubbs’s Anatomy of The Horse is one of the great anatomy projects of the past 500 years in Western Art History. Even today it is both scientifically and aesthetically convincing and the exceptional graphic and anatomical accuracy of his drawings and etchings is impressive.”

Image Credit: Fine Art America

Make sure to read my post on Manchester Art Gallery here




  1. I love anatomy and texture too, Stubbs is THE master when it comes to horses. Visiting Whistlejacket I was surprised see how big it was in real life, compared to the art history books I’d studied it from. It was so beautiful I wanted to reach out and touch it. (I didn’t of course).

    Liked by 1 person

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