Rosinante (Study of an old standing horse), c. 1847
Oil on cardboard, 30 x 45 cm.
Inventory number: 0107NMK
Acquired before 1884. Bestowed to the museum in 1908
In a Mediterranean landscape stands an old and worn-out horse, tied to a pole. A majestic mountain landscape fans out across the background under a clear blue sky. Besides being an animal study, the title of this work also refers to Don Quixote’s horse, Rosinante, who like its master was worn-out, awkward and possessed a tendency to overestimate its own capacity. Marstrand often highlighted these comical traits in his depictions of the adventurous knight’s horse. Satire was not the motive in this work, however. Instead, Marstrand takes a distinctly naturalistic approach to the subject here, where everything from the horse’s muscles to its bone structure has been reproduced with great precision and accuracy.
Wilhelm Marstrand (1810-1873)
Marstrand was among C.W. Eckersberg’s students and was, as the only one, very interested in narrative and illustrative painting. Marstrand worked with genre painting, literary subjects, portraiture and, in later years, history painting. He was frequently employed as a portraitist and painted a series of portraits of members of the Hage family, among others. Marstrand travelled throughout his life in the larger European countries such as Italy, France, Germany and England. He was particularly fascinated by Italy, where he stayed for several years. From here, he became a major producer of peculiar, touching, and often humorous or ironic depictions of the Italian folk life that so fascinated him.