XuBeihong adhered to realism for his whole life. His horse sketching drafts are no less than one thousand pieces. He studied horse anatomy, so he was quite familiar with horse's skeleton, muscles, organs, actions and looks. Different from traditional horse paintings which are of horses’ front and side looks, this painting adopts a 3/4 side perspective and was completed with freehand brushwork method. The horse, with a strong body and flying pony mane, is running to the viewers, which is full of visual impact. In addition to stenography, XuBeihong also combined western painting method of fusing shades and light into dark ink, leaving blank inlight place and adding ink spots in shadow place. There are fat and thin horses in China traditionalhorse paintings, and horses painted by XuBeihong are mainly thin, tall and with strong characters. But when he painted horses, he abandoned the sadness of thin horses normally painted by literati, but conveyed a positive and optimistic attitude towards life through horses’ high-spirited attitude. In the historical background when the nation was in peril, XuBeihong tried to arouse the national spirit with the image oftenaciousand strong horse.


  • Title: Galloping horse
  • Creator: Xu Beihong
  • Date: 1953
  • Provenance: The Palace Museum
  • Physical format: painting, 49.3h x 52.7w cm
  • Medium: ink on paper
  • Dynastic period: 1895-1953
  • Artist's birth and death date: 1895-1953

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