Wednesday, May 28, 2008

art history lesson: horses running

Ok...one more post about horses (I told you I had a thing for horses). Except this time I'm mixing it in with my other love: art.

Taking so many photos of horses running over the past couple of weekends made me think of the first photographs taken of horses running.

But before people were photographing horses running they were painting horses running. And the funny thing about how they painted horses running is that they really didn't understand how horses ran.

You see, it was believed that at some point in a horse's gallop, all four legs left the ground at the same time. And it was widely believed that that point was when the legs were all stretched out away from the body. And so when artists painted horses running they were usually painted in this form with all four legs stretched out and off the ground.

See?



This kind of painted running horse is often called a Rocking Horse...'cause they look like rocking horses!

So then, photography was invented...and, in the 1870s, this very smart English guy, Eadweard Muybridge, got involved in a bet over if and when all four legs of a horse leave the ground when running. So he set up this ingenious system of cameras and trip wires and - viola! - got a series of photographs of a horse running.

And guess what he found? The legs of a horse are off the ground at the same time when they're all gathered up underneath it...not when they're stretched out! So Muybridge won his bet and created the first stop-motion photography!



So there's your fun art history fact for the day!

4 comments:

La Alicia said...

groovy factoid!

LazyTcrochet said...

Very cool! Learn something new every day : )

Zachary said...

Wow...that is pretty cool to know! I never even thought of the fact that horse paintings did show the "Rocking Horse" stance. Interesting.

jkziel said...

interesting.

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