Equestrian Art! Alfred DeDreux and the "Mystery Gait"


Art by Alfred De Dreux

Throughout most of history, horses said the same thing about their owners as cars do today.

They were symbols of power and status. You had to "be somebody" to own a horse. Just like today, fancy, fast or powerful horses were a status symbol. And if you had one, you wanted to flaunt it!

From the time when prehistoric people first painted images of horses on cave walls, horses have been the ultimate symbol of speed and power so it's not surprising that there are no shortages of equestrian images from all eras, and I'm interested in all of them!

Today, I'm sharing some by Alfred DeDreux, a French painter born in 1810. I don't know exactly how many paintings he did during his lifetime, however, an internet search for images by DeDreux will return hundreds of examples of his work and I love his horses! At least, I love them when they're standing or at walk. Just look at them! When you look at the examples of his work shown below, you get the impression that he's actually touched a horse. That he really knows what the legs and muscles feel like.

Art by Alfred DeDreux

But here's the interesting thing! Why would someone so obviously familiar with his subject, someone that is getting all the details so right, get it so wrong at the gallop? To be fair to DeDreux, he wasn't the only artist depicting (what looks to me like) an obviously impossible way of