I have always been fascinated with this image. And in all the years ebay has been around I have struggled with the urge to start a collection of these statues. This week I lost the struggle. The image of a sad little horse is completely contrary to the art form and I just have the NEED to understand WHY it exists…correction..’persists’. Small household statues, nicknacks, whatever…usually are meant to inspire and entertain…a virgin mary inspires and comforts, a Hummel goosegirl brings a smile, a Breyer Horse encourages imagination…but what for what purpose does one design, create, buy or display a starving animal that appears near death’s door. I have never studied iconography before but this maybe worth tracking down. For what possible reason does one BUY this type of thing from a gift shop..god forbid it was ever meant as an actual gift…”here’ i got you this.”
The oldest image I can image this would represent is famine….infrequently the black horse on which Famine rides is depicted as starved, otherwise i can only compare this to perhaps the ‘little matchgirl’ – meant to instill sympathy. From what I have observed this type of statue was quite popular between the depression and the late 60s, at least i haven’t seen any object d’art outside of that range. This little guy is what i think bisque – a hollow painted soft material, alas it is unmarked, I would love to start tracking this image back to a source.
My biggest problem now will be to resist adding to my collection of one.