Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Traveller and Lucy et al

Salvete omnes,
  so today a little foray into the American horses' history of Civil War 1861-85, and the famous war leader  & general on the rebel side  Robert E. Lee  who had many horses during the war of rebellion as any war leader must.
Perhaps it was  the most famous Civil War horse, that is  general Lee's horse, a grey American saddlebred  named Traveller.

During the  Civil War general Lee had four other mounts in his 'remuda,' 
a mare -Lucy Long -
-bay Richmond, a  stallion that died from his wound after the battle of Malvern Hill in 1862.
- brown The Roan, went blind in 1862, Lee gave him to a farmer who promised to care for the blind horse.
-a sorrel Ajax - seldom used being too tall for the general, remained in his care after the war.
the following  pages, describing Lee's horses, come from the  Southern Historical Society Papers available on Archive -


After this death, especially during the later XIX century and first half of the XX century Lee has been subject of many public artworks etc. One of them is an equestrian monument in Richmond. It was created by Antonin Mercie in France and unveiled in Richmond in 1890.
There, at 1700 Monument Ave in Richmond  idealized Lee sits astride his idealized war steed (they claim it is not Traveller) and until June 2020 this pair was resplendent in their setting and scope.
Since then it has been the subject of a political and media dispute including the  current Virginia governor. The monument has been defaced by the opponents.
Perhaps it will be removed as the political voices against this artwork are powerful and vocal.


Monday, June 29, 2020

Teddy on horseback - farewell

Salvete Omnes,
to their eternal shame and with a display of absolute gutlessness, ignorance and cowardliness the AMNC, with a nod and  support from Roosevelt's great grandson, has decided to remove the wonderful equestrian sculpture of Teddy Roosevelt -

Who was Teddy - he was the 26th US president, faithful husband and father of family, anti-corporate crusader, American soldier, cowboy, NYC police commissioner, NY state governor, conservationist, hunter and a horseman, Nobel Peace Prize for his actions to end the Russo-Japanese War (when the prize  meant anything really - vide Obama PPr) etc - simple a true hero, in Joseph Campbell's way. Hence, the Teddy bear we all love as children - :)

Mr Teddy had a very strong personality, problems with health, but battled it all, achieved the utmost and on top was a prolific writer - his bibliography

The monument was sculpted by a native Minnesotan artist James Earle Fraser  and is truly a wonderful, amazing example of  both representational and allegorical  masterpiece.



When I lived in NYC we used to frequent the museum usually almost every Saturday, as it was opened long and parking was easy to get in the afternoon (coming from Brooklyn), especially the cold months were great to do this when rained or snowed outside, while during the summer months it was great to sit by Teddy et company and eat some ice-cream or apple and watch the crowds passing by between  the museum and the Central Park.

you can read many of his works via Archive library -  like his fine four volume The Winning of the West .

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Mitrophan Grekov - painter of Red Army Cavalry

Salvete Omnes,
100 years ago Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and various 'White' Cossack forces battled the Red Army's onslaught that would be finally stopped on the flat plains of central Poland east of the Vistula River. Thus year is the anniversary of that famous battle of Warsaw.

I daresay  in the spirit of this anniversary Osprey Publishing released a book from the Campaign series by Steven Zaloga about the battle of Warsaw 1920. 
I am thinking about  addressing some issues I have seen with this book, but no promises there.
In the spirit of this centennial campaign let us take a look at one of the Soviet artists who was in fact a soldier and portrayed the famous Budyonny  1st Horse/Cavalry  Army or Konarmia of the Russian Civil War.

Artist-  Mitrophan Borisovich Grekhov/Grekov (1882-1934) - volunteered to join fight the Red Army and being a solider  he drew and painted, from nature, the Konarmia cavalrymen and their horses. And their famous tachankas - machine gun placed on a carriage that was pulled by at least 2 horse team.
there is lots of  steppe vastness and horse sprit in these paintings

Here some paintings -



Sunday, June 21, 2020

Grant's Monument

Salvete Omnes,
I just learned that the monument to our president Ulysses S. Grant  in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park was damaged and toppled by the rioting mobs of barbarians, ignorant products of US public education  and the sworn enemies of beauty, harmony and Western society.

I have seen enough ignorance  towards the art and beauty in America (just look at any statistics on how many people graduate the high school, youngsters without any art or history or culture schooling, and a large percentage those graduating have no reading or comprehension skills, no knowledge of history nor poetry nor aesthetics), but this is the newest low.
It is a very direct assault on the Anglo-Saxon or WASP-controlled America, and myself, being a Polish Slav look at this barbarity with revulsion while recalling how the Nazi Germans would destroy historic monuments and our cultural heritage in Poland 1939-45, how the Soviets would do the same destruction to our cultural heritage 1939-41, and again post 1945 in the greater Polish territories. Soviet Union rule over Poland ended in 1989 but Polish people still live in the shadow of this ruthless destruction, and falsification of our history and of culture and heritage.
Nota bene look at our ethnic Indo-European group name - Slav - and it is interesting that  the word 'slave' comes from the word 'Slav'  in the English language - eg  etymology: slave comes from the ''Middle English sclave, from Old French esclave, from Medieval Latin sclāvus, from Sclāvus, Slav (from the widespread enslavement of captured Slavs in Europe and Middle East'' between VI century through XVII century).

So to lighten the spirit let us look at some of the pictures from the Wiki Commons gallery showing horses from the tremendously glorious, monumental and dynamic Grant's Memorial at the US capital.
The monument was created and executed by architect Edward Pearce Casey and sculptor Henry Merwin Shrady  between 1902-22 (Shrady died two weeks - 12th April 1922-  before the monument was unveiled on April 27, 1922 ). It may be of interst that maestro Shrady took many years of studying horses including dissecting them, like the famous horse painter from the XVIII century Britain -George Stubbs.