My horses understand me tolerably well; I converse with them at least four hours every day. They are strangers to bridle or saddle, they live in great amity with me, and friendship to each other – Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels
I bless the hoss from hoof to head –
From head to hoof, and tale to mane! –
I bless the hoss, as I have said,
From head to hoof, and back again!
– James Whitcomb Riley
I just couldn’t stay indifferent when I see a horse. Beneath admiring a perfect blend of power and grace they represent, I love the feeling of patience and peace they express, looking at the surrounding world with an incredible mixture of wiseness, quietness and vulnerability. Like they remark baseness but are above; like their strenght lies in their equanimity…and this is what I deeply admire!
The essence of this feeling was brilliantly described by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels, when Gulliver landed into the Land of the Houyhnhnm (intelligent horses whose community is directed by the reason, the ethics and the innocence – they do not even have a word for ‘lie’, ‘war’ or ‘corruption’).
So for my first shot on animal portrait I really wanted to focus on this expression in horses eyes: both credulous and sage.