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Study of a Rearing Horse
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Jacques Callot
French, about 1616
Pen and brown ink
12 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.
92.GA.35

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This powerful image clearly displays Jacques Callot developing the motif of a rearing horse. He first laid out the sheet horizontally, with the present left side at the top, and lightly sketched the back of the head of a horse in the center of the page. He then turned the sheet vertically and drew the whole animal with a fine, quill pen. Finally, Callot went back over the outlines with a thicker reed pen, adding emphasis and creating a sense of rippling movement with dark, sure strokes. The streaming mane and tail and the unusual vertical format emphasize the upward movement of the rearing horse.

Upon completing the large stallion, Callot returned to the quill pen to execute the tiny equine figure in the lower right. More fluid still, the horse and rider capture the movements of its larger counterpart in remarkable detail, down to the glimpse of the underside of the front left hoof between the horse's hind legs. The drawing demonstrates Callot's marvelous capacity to miniaturize motifs in a dashing, shorthand manner.

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