The horse has appeared in a remarkable variety of roles in the history of art. It has appeared as itself and as a symbol for great many different things. The summer exhibition at Art Museum Meilahti will set free a whole herd of horses in art.
The ethics of the relationship between humans and animals has become the subject of broad and prominent debate. Our relationship with horses, which has been a close one for centuries, is especially important. Its importance is obvious in art, which the horse is portrayed as a noble animal, a representative of beauty, a work partner and a symbol of power and the economy. Horses are also associated with characteristics that are opposite to each other, such as freedom and hard labour, and a high-flown spirit and primitive physical force. The horse is the mount of kings and soldiers and a charming pet of little girls.
In older art the horse is often shown as an essential part of our surroundings, but it also plays a role in many myths and legends. With the modern era, the horse has increasingly conveyed human emotions and ideals – or their disappearance. In contemporary art, the horse often appears as an emblem of the personal emotions of the artist.
This exhibition comprises some 300 works from Finnish collections and Finnish artists. It covers artistic genres from 17th century graphics and paintings to very recent video art. The exhibition presents different aspects of the horse through themed sections, which include town and country, horsepower in society and the economy, horseback king, horse sport, horse personalities and the mythical horse.
The art history of the horse and the backgrounds of the symbolical meaning of the horse are discussed in the book Horse power published in conjunction with the exhibition. The book includes presentations of six artists. The book will be published by Maahenki Oy. Our partner in the exhibition is the Equine College Ypäjä.
Guided tours: Guided tours free of charge in Finnish on Wednesdays at 17.00, and on Sundays at 14.00, and in Swedish on the second Sunday of each month at 15.00. To book a private tour, please call +358 9 310 87003.