The Red Horse is the left hand panel of two that make up a single painting. I mentioned it in the blog on 13th February, and you can see how it looks with both panels together in that entry. But both panels are worth looking at in more detail, and I've enhanced them here (click on them to get a bigger image) - they're large, each nearly 2.5 metres high and over 2 metres wide. Its right hand companion, The Blue Horse is below:
Dave loved Virgil’s story of the Trojan Horse from the Aeneid, and this may be part of the derivation of the imagery of the Red and Blue Horses. The painting was part of a big series called Sailing to Byzantium, inspired by the poem of the same name by WB Yeats, and included the ways in which Dave imagined preparations might be made for a very long sea journey. Some of the paintings showed boats being constructed with many people labouring with various tools, and others show the boats being made ready to set sail - and then, in others, starting to set forth. You can see references to the boats and the journey underneath the horses. The Red and Blue Horses, as part of this series, might also simply be part of the huge team effort to construct the boats.
Together these make a masterly painting, I think one of Dave Pearson's very best, and it's this painting that two head-teachers of local schools, St James C of E Primary of Haslingden and St Nicholas C of E Primary of Newchurch, both in Rossendale, have wisely chosen as a source and starting point for a project by each of their classes. The project can go in any direction; it may start as an art project may may end up as history, geography, science or fashion project. I'm really looking forward to seeing the results of an ambitious and inspiring project that starts next month.