The Large Blue Horses | Artopia

Franz Marc

A Closer Look

In The Large Blue Horses, Franz Marc uses rich, bright colors and curvy lines. The curves of the horses are repeated in the hills in the background. Notice how the horses take up almost the entire canvas, so that they become abstract. Abstraction is changing, rearranging, distorting or deforming something from its original state. Try drawing an object and make it touch all four edges of your paper. Parts of your drawing can even go off the sides of the paper.

About the Painting

Franz Marc loved to paint animals, especially horses. He was a very spiritual man and he felt that animals were innocent and close to God. He also had theories about color, believing, for example, that yellow is a feminine color and blue is masculine. In The Large Blue Horses the animals look strong and muscular, but they also seem like tender, emotional creatures. The painting demonstrates Marc’s sensitivity to the natural world.

About the Artist

Franz Marc was the son of a landscape painter. He founded Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group with the Russian artist Vassily Kandinsky. They used bright colors to express their feelings about things, rather than simply painting what they saw. They are called Expressionists. Marc died at age 36 in World War I, hit in the head by a grenade while riding a horse. He is considered a pioneer in the birth of abstract art.



Expressionism: a style developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in which the artist uses intense colors and exaggerated lines to express feelings. 

Abstract art : art that uses color and/or form to either simplify or exaggerate the subject (e.g. Cubism, Abstract Expressionism). 


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.