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I don't know too much about horses, but I am amazed by the names people come up with for race horses. This particular one was called Whistlejacket, apparently derived from an 18th century cold remedy containing gin and sugar syrup.
This famous painting was by George Stubbs, one of the most famous British sports painters. He was famous for painting horses and this particular image was commissioned by Whistlejackets owner, the Marquess of Rockingham. The Arabian thoroughbred was 13 years old when he was painted in 1763 and had an impressive racing career. The original painting is massive, 2. 9m high and about 2.5m wide and is on display in the National Gallery in London. The painting stayed int eh Rockingham family until 1997, when the National Gallery bought it for about $18 million.
There were rumours that the painting was unfinished, because of its plain background and absence of any humans, but these rumours have been discredited. Stubbs apparently chose to focus solely on the horse and tried to stayed as close to lifelike as he could, seeming almost to display the horse's character as well.
"Levade is the particular stance that Whistlejacket is working to achieve. This is a trained stance in which the horse tries to hold a position 30 to 35 degrees from the ground. Achieving Levade takes great equilibrium and strength, especially in the back legs which carry most of the weight. Stubbs captures both the tension and the energy expended."
Try your hand at our 40 x 50cm version of this masterpiece. It is fairly challenging and has 21 colours. Each box contains a stretched, printed and numbered canvas, paint, brushes and a page detailing the numbers for an extra reference.