Five Outstanding Works of Art That Deserve Your Attention
Some works of art are famous; many are less so. Here I’ve selected five exceptional paintings that are worth lingering over.
The Fate of the Animals by Franz Marc
Look closely at this pulsating painting and you’ll see an entire forest of animals and birds. The artist has splintered the image into an array of trembling, shivering facets, each of which reveals a creature or plant of the natural world.
Most famous for his images of brightly coloured horses, Franz Marc sought to represent the energy of nature in visual form. He was born in Munich in 1880. Along with his friend Wassily Kandinsky he founded Der Blaue Reiter (“The Blue Rider”), a group that celebrated the use of abstracted forms and bold colours as conduits of spiritual energy.
The Fate of the Animals nears a point of abstraction, using diagonal planes of colour to register an apocalyptic warning about the value and fate of nature — especially as the turn of the 20th century brought new dangers to Europe. On the back of the canvas, Marc wrote an inscription: “And All Being is Flaming Suffering.”
With World War I approaching, Marc’s painting concerns sharpened. He was drafted as a cavalryman, and then in 1916 he was struck in the head by a shell splinter during the Battle of Verdun. Tragically, Marc was on a list of notable artists to be withdrawn from danger, but he died before orders for reassignment could reach him.
The Fate of the Animals was later damaged by fire (on the right-hand side) and partially restored by Marc’s friend Paul Klee.