Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for "Fallen Jockey"

F is for "Fallen Jockey," painted by Edgar Degas in 1896.

This is a puzzling painting in many ways.  Steeplechase, horse racing over obstacles, was first introduced in France in 1830's.  In this very rough sport, falls are common, some fatal.

The fallen jockey does not look alive, he looks almost puppet-like.  This painting was worked and re-worked over many years.  An art critic, Michael Fried, writing in The Three Penny Review in 2007, after careful study, saw in the painting the painter Edouard Manet, a good friend of Degas, who died of complications of syphilis years before.  Manet's left leg was amputated (the jockey's left leg is bent); the jockey's right hand is not detailed; but the riding crop could represent the artist's brush, never to be used again, as it is out of reach.  This version is unfinished and was never sold, too grim for most collectors, and remained in Degas' studio.

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."  
                                                                         --Edgar Degas

Dover Publications, Inc. Mineola, New York.


  1. I know how that guy in the art feels. Horses don't like me for some reason, but I do like your blog and the theme you've picked. I'm glad I stopped by! :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by and your comment. I like your blog and am willing to give Sci Fi a try.

  2. it feels incomplete. but perhaps that's how he meant it to be. a moment ripped from time, a life unfinished..

  3. This doesn't seem very accurate. The horse would be long gone by the time the jockey was flat on the ground. Plus you should be able to see the jump that threw him. No wonder it didn't sell.


  4. My mom used to paint horses in water or grass when she was younger because she had trouble with their feet. Now she just takes photos. This one is a puzzle!

  5. Wow, that is a weird painting but I actually think it's kind of neat. It's almost as if the ground has swallowed the jockey. I love the Degas quote and you Inside Passage picture up there!

  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love your theme! I also have friends all around the world...definitely makes life more interesting! We lived overseas for a few years and I enjoyed so much living in an international community. Good luck with the Challenge!

  7. Oh...knowing the story that prompted Degas to do this painting with the jockey just so...that took my breath away.

  8. Hi from a fellow A to Z Challnger - I love the quote about art being what you make others see.

    Hope you enjoy this challenge as much as I am.

  9. It is a challenge to try and be interesting every day for 26 days! But I learn so much just doing the research. Thanks for your comment.