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MEYER Emile"THE PARIS HIPPODROME"
It is rather difficult to see a painting of a horse and not think of sir Alfred Munnings. However, this picture predates the legendary horse painter and focuses on an entirely different aspect of equestrianism. In fact, one might argue that the horse disappears into the desaturated background. The horseman, on the contrary, is painted in a bright red riding coat. His stiff posture equally contributes to the notion of the man's refined, cultivated and noble standing. The depicted spectator stands only serve to reinforce this message, as the two white sections for the lower-class spectators aim to uplift the scarcely populated and in fabric covered upper-class stand on the right. The horse and its jockey stand out brightly and even fiercely in the very center of the composition, as if under a spotlight. With an incredible sense of detail the horse and its rider are painted in full-action, a tremendous challenge for any painter. The painter could have chosen an easier composition, depicting the horse at rest, but instead he deliberately took up the challenge of painting the horse mid-jump, conveying a sense of dynamism. As the horse and his jockey take the leap over the pond one cannot help but hold one’s breath in anticipation: will they make it? Emile Meyer (Paris 1823 - Paris 1910) has not left the world with much else than his paintings. He studied under Delaunay, Puvis de Chavannes and Lévy. He made his debut at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1880 and received honourable mentions both in 1891 and in 1900 at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. His rich and varied oeuvre implies a zealous work ethic. His works impress by their quality and one cannot be but blown away by the artist’s incredible artistic bravery. Emile Meyer could as easily paint a classical Venus or a Venetian landscape, as a portrait or a horse. Often experimenting with the medium to create a specific atmosphere, Meyer manages to continue impressing the spectator by his scope of genres and the techniques necessary to bring those to life.
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