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LEGENDARY HORSES OF ACHILLES

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Achilles's Legendary Horses - Xanthos and Balios - painting by Henri Regnault

Achilles's Legendary Horses - Xanthos and Balios - painting by Henri Regnault

Achilles's Legendary Horses - Xanthos and Balios - Painting by Henri Regnault

This painting is all about the heroes and heroism. The visible and of course the invisible who are as much part of the canvas as Xanthos and Balios, the two legendary horses seen here. Or the muscular and dedicated groom of Achilles, Automedon who is struggling to keep the equines in check. The invisible characters of this legendary painting are Achilles the Greek Warrior who needs no introduction, the owner of Xanthos and Balios, and of course the man who created this masterpiece. Henri Regnault – During the year 1890, in Rome, who would have believed that this young man of 25 years can create something as imposing and powerful as this. The painting was inspired by the “Iliad” an ancient Greek epic poem by Homer about the iconic Trojan War, which involved the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states. As Regnault was a horseman himself, he used all his understanding of the subject to depict the fear and excitement in the horse’s eyes, strained veins, froth and the overall body language. Did he mean to convey that horses being known for predicting future, were aware of the arrival of hard times ahead? Most probably. Henri didn’t have any troubles in locating a buyer as it was purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts in year 1890. Instantly it became one of the most popular and talked about piece. Being a winner of Prix de Rome bursary, Henri was exempted from military duty. But as much a hero and a man of Honor, as his subjects of the painting, he volunteered when the war broke out in 1870. He was killed in battle during the final days of the Franco-Prussian War

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