Horses Actors | Artopia

Maria Izquierdo

A Closer Look

Horses Actors is a good example of asymmetrical balance. If you draw an imaginary line down the middle of the painting you can see that the two halves are very different. The barrels with horses standing on them are on one side and a group of horses is on the other. Izquierdo balances the two sides by putting more horses on the left. Why do some of the horses have headdresses on, while others don't? Can you imagine what the horses think of each other?

About the Painting

Many Mexican artists in the early 20th century painted large murals depicting social and political themes.Maria Izquierdo reacted against the Muralists, preferring to reflect Mexican traditions in her artwork, using bright colors and a na├»ve or primitive style. Horses Actors is based on one of her favorite subjects--the circus. It is painted on paper with gouache, a kind of watercolor that has stronger, more opaque colors than regular watercolors.

About the Artist

Maria Izquierdo grew up with her aunt and grandmother in the Mexican state of Jalisco. She was a religious girl and got married when she was only fourteen, but she was restless and bored being a wife and mother. Her family moved to Mexico City in 1923, where she discovered her great love--art! There she studied with Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera, husband of the painter Frida Kahlo.


Write About It

  • Make a list of what you see.
  • How did the artist use the elements and principles of design?
  • What do you think the painting means? How does it make you feel?
  • Select two paintings to compare & contrast.