~ The Magical World of Horses ~

The old sacred books say that the Almighty made a horse out of a gust of wind. They say that all the treasure of the world is in between its magical eyes. Might and pride are within its mane. It will fly without wings and win without a sword. Because of its endurance, loyalty and obedience, one considers it one of the greatest living blessings. He nurtured and maintained it for centuries as his most precious friend and assistant. Many of his achievements in war and peace have come true with it, so it is often praised in many folk and heroic songs. Powerful empires were formed on its back and collapsed under its hooves. It tirelessly carried heavy armor, weapons, equipment and ammunition and passed through impenetrable forests and mountains, in order to win many victories together with his master. By virtue of it and the deadly chariots, Persia was once a martial superpower. If it was not for it, the world would be different; Alexander the Great would never be called the “Great” and won many territories, and Napoleon’s conquests across Europe would not have come true, but only one big dream would remain. In the battle of the mainland, the Romans used a cavalry, which was especially enhanced during the reign of Diocletian and Constantine. In the year 376, on the border of the Roman Empire, the merciless Huns appeared with their magical horses. They first started to use stirrups, and they represented a great danger for all people, even for powerful Romans. In 378, the Huns teamed up with the Gothic cavalry and defeated the Romans in the Battle of Hadrianopolis. Seventy years after this battle, the Romans led their last fight in which the largest number of horsemen took part. In 451, in the Catalaunian Plains, they were fighting, with Attila at the head, and twenty years later the Roman Empire collapsed. After the collapse of the Roman Empire and the death of Attila (453), the Empire of the Huns dominated its territory, and the border was preserved by Byzantium under the command of Belisarius, forming a great cavalry. Byzantium was constantly attacked by the Avars from the Pannonian Plain, who were famous for leaving the stirrups on their way from Mongolia to the Danube. Fear of Huns and Avars can not be compared with the fear that caused the Mongol hordes under the leadership of Genghis Khan. Their destruction can not be compared with the destruction in all wars, and their terrible horsemen trampled and destroyed everything that was on their way. Famous Genghis Khan became king in the thirteenth year and managed to unite all Mongolian tribes. He defeated the whole of Europe and continued conquests until his bizarre death, when he was killed in the hunt under the hooves of his own horse. The last Mongolian tribe, the Tatars, captured Asia and the Middle East, even threatened the Ottoman Empire, led by the fearless Tamerlane. His cavalry had only one formation unit consisting of ten thousand horsemen. Each horseman acted independently, but as a whole they were very well organized and disciplined. However, after Tamerlane’s death, in 1405, his empire collapsed, and the rest were only memories of terrible destruction, accomplished with the help of famous horsemen. Proud and noble, their magical horses are born only to triumphs: when everyone gives up, they move forward; when we all go down, they climb to new heights; when all the retreat, they’re hard as rocks, defying all odds. The lances of many turbulent times were smashed on their powerful chest. Throughout history, they have always been faithful companions of people and contributed to the development of civilization. We meet with equestrian themes even on, twenty-eight thousand years before the new era, old works in the Chauvet Cave, in Ardèche canyon, in France, and on lovely statuettes made of stone, bone and horn, found in a cave in southwestern Germany. In ancient times, some nations considered them sacred animals. Their endurance has laid the foundations of many fortresses and ramparts, and their divine beauty appears in many galleries, in illustrations, mosaics, frescoes and imposing statues and sculptures all over the world. Marcus Aurelius, emperor and philosopher, is remarkably presented with the statue of horseman at the Capitoline Hill in Rome. Unknown soldiers and heroes made in bronze and stone, rest with their magnificent friends on many vast squares. Their miraculous strength and legendary beauty are an inexhaustible source of inspiration to many creators, who have made a major contribution to cherishing the value of this magical animal. Glow in their eyes left a unique and indelible trace, and their deep mysterious view accompanies us in all walks of life. Although we believe that we are close enough to them, and we know enough them, they were and have always remained a big enigma. Their magical world is all around us, and yet we have not been able enough to examine and discover it. Unique Palomino horses, known by their golden body and silvery white tail, are the big mystery for scientists. The graceful, magnificent and playful Lipizzaner is a master of the arenas and parades. We look at it with admiration while performing a dance, known only to it. In the dressage scene, we enjoy in rare moments of elusive beauty and snowy whiteness, and we wonder how come there’s so much magic in one being (“Dance”). Beautiful Haflinger, with light mane and a strong heart, is struggling with rugged landscapes and the sharp peaks of the Alps. The Andalusian beauty cruises in Spain, while its luxuriant, wavy mane, fluttering in the wind. Intelligent and obedient, it was the truest friend of many kings across Europe, and is considered the best in the world. Agile and graceful, black Friesian participated with knights in many medieval wars throughout Europe. Gorgeous and priceless, they are present everywhere: in our past, present and future; in fairy tales and forgotten wilderness, in the world’s greatest battles, in the traces of endless caravans of warm desert sand. If the road takes us to the vast expanse of India, on its gates will welcome us proud and elegant prince of the kingdom of Marwar desert, which for centuries has tirelessly carried warriors of the Rajput tribe on their strong backs. Its Turkmenistan origin is identified in the lively movement and high durability. North American Mustang with its magic won the whole world: attractiveness, grace, speed and independence are intertwined in it. While it rushes across the field to meet the setting sun, it seems to us that the flame erupts from its lush mane. Many verses move in the rhythm of the cavalry squadron and there is almost no epic in literature that is not based on their strength and courage. Tang Dynasty is especially well-known for processing the themes of knight’s ambient and wide landscapes with horses in the gallop. Richly equipped, powerful white horses and terrifying riders are a frequent motif on frescoes. We meet with their epic beauty in the works of many Renaissance and Baroque greats, and in the age of Romanticism and Realism and in modern times. Suzana Stojanović, following the traces of the old masters, creates a type of ideal horse with narrow head, wide croup, tense legs, long fluttering mane, with a tail resembling a feather and trembling nostrils, a fiery gaze. From an early childhood surrounded by them, inspired by their magic, beauty and strength, she began to work them as a child. In these first works they were not realistic as in her mature years. Passing through a period of fiction and fairy tales, she presented them unusual. Often, they would be blue on her works. Inspired by her own observation, in which fiction often overcomes realism, she has enjoyed the world of colors. These first meetings with the colors left traces on her later works. The constant need to spend time with them, took her a step further. She began to copy masterpieces of old masters. Impressed by the vast works of Diego Velázquez, as an eleven-year-old girl, she managed, climbed the ladder, without any sketches and preparations, to immortalize his famous equestrian portrait of Prince Balthasar Charles on a huge wall. Her dream to touch, one day, that power of skill and creation, after many years, became a reality. The series “The Magical World of Horses” originated in 2001 as the crown of all her longtime studies and researches related to these wonderful animals. The final look of each of her works is always preceded by a multitude of sketches. She likes to watch, and her day sometimes begins by going to the nearest haras. “This splendor of divine origin that comes out of the eyes of these beautiful creatures opens up magical horizons in which, once you get caught, you remain forever trapped”, says the author. With their diversity and widespread, they have created a special world that stands out from all others. With her fiction, Suzana tries to encompass one part of that world and diversity. There is almost no segment of life, but they are not an integral part of it. She monitors their behavior in different situations and gives great attention to describing each part of their body, showing them very precisely. She tirelessly explores and glows in the eye, and the equine mane, and tail, and carefully works almost each of their hair, because she considers them to be the most perfect and the most graceful beings. Her series “The Magical World of Horses” (which can also be seen in Behance gallery) includes various equestrian motifs, breeds and techniques. An interesting portrait made by pastel “Curl” is one of the first works of this series that still extends through her creation. It looks like these are the moments when the author recalled the childhood and her magical pets. Her later works, although much more serious, still bear in them a note of naivety and the emphasis on the positive features of her favorite subject. The only work that stands out from the gallery is “Devil”. On it, by the position of the head and the ears, the being of a bloody look resembles the devil. In this view, different feelings are intertwined: rage, fear, tension, and anger. Each vein on his head and neck is pronounced. The gloomy sky swallows its bristled mane and announces a storm. Nevertheless, besides all this, this horse is presented sympathetic. The horses in the work “Mirror” are also cute. Realistic, to the smallest details, presented river looks soothing to the observers, but at the same time disturbing to the horses, which, together with each other, seem as if they do not dare to get deeper into the water. In their views, fear of their own reflection is anticipated. It confuses them what they see because it is completely different from what they are used to. The small waves of the river lead them to another world, which seems very interesting to them. However, unlike many people, they are cautious and do not dare to go into unknown depths. Although small, this work contains a handful of details that successfully describe a rare moment, interesting both for observers and for beings participating in it. Interesting and playful are the horses on Suzana’s work “Morning” too. With the brush strokes that associate the sun’s rays, she creates a scene filled with an atmosphere of joy inspired by the morning waking of nature in the game of wild horses, relieved by all the nooses and obstacles. Their manes in a color of the sun, contribute to this joyful moment. Even the glittering background is in harmony with their movements. Many works by Suzana Stojanović are recognizable by those flickering backgrounds. Work “Fairies” is partly based on the legend of the fairies, for which some still believe that they sometimes pass one of our paths, but rare are those who can see them. Suzana saw and illustrated them in her own way: on horses. Bathed in light, wrapped in golden strands of beautiful, long hair, they fly on their magical and elusive companions through dense forests and nobody knows in what direction and why they leave. Their untouched world is inspired by life and purity, sprinkled with spring, joy and freedom, to which many rushes, but do not see. As we look at this scene, it seems to us that it is torn from a dream. It is this combination of the ancient and the contemporary that gives this work an unusual attractiveness. The work “Power” is pure magic of light. On the profile of a horse of an unusual golden ocher color, as on glass, its strength, beauty and silver equipment are refracting, which seems to have been preserved for centuries for this special moment. Precisely presented, even the smallest muscle of its head and neck introduces us to the third dimension, and as we observe it, we have the feeling that we are observing a statue from the Roman era. The light pink stripe above its eye gives a lively and romantic tone to the overall impression. This work stands out from the others with a multitude of small details, of which a beautiful portrait of a proud creature is woven. Suzana’s horses are never separated (pastel “Love”), even if this was the last wasteland behind which there is nothing more (“Connection”). Even then, they are enough for each other as comfort and support, like that solid rock in the middle of the ocean, about which waves break for centuries, but they still fail to move it. Their family is always together, and they spend every part of the day in harmony, regardless of whether the wind blows or the peace and joy of spring surrounds them (“Family”). “This is their magical world, in which these timeless beings are fully accepted and understood by each other, completely different from ours, to whom we should admire, to try to present it in the right way and to guard it, not allowing it to disappear in the dust of unreasonable decisions”, says the author Suzana Stojanović. They attracted not only by its external, but also that of unattainable beauty that they carry deep within themselves for centuries. The whole eternity made of rare precious stones and all their pride (“In front of the castle”), dignity and intelligence are reflected in their magical eyes. Those reflect a miraculous world, hidden somewhere in the mist of the rocky mountains, in the call of wild herds, in the spring green of flower meadows, in the company of the gods. Born in Greek mythology, they will continue to travel all the time and to shine with their whiteness, hooked in the chariot of war god, Ares. Some of them disappeared on the waves of the sea going to meet god Poseidon. Emerged as the fruit of Poseidon and Medusa’s love, begun in soft grass and in the scent of spring flowers, magical Pegasus of golden wings, flew to Zeus’s castle, the father of all gods, and brought lightning and thunders to him. One constellation, which in the sky shines somewhere, between Andromeda and Aquarius, bears its name. There are many legends and illustrations about the unicorn, for which there is a belief that it lived until the fourth century BC. It was a symbol of purebred, honesty, and sincerity. The hunters’ intention to catch it was futile. It was believed that its horn had incredible power. Brave and loyal, horses remained to live on the walls of many galleries and in literature on the pages of many works of great philosophers and writers. The extraordinary works of the Greek philosopher Xenophon still represent valuable material for all those who want to study them. Proud-spirited and diverse, they maintained their characteristics despite many hardships. Rare are the moments when we can hear the whisper of their soul. They speak with movements and views. Always gorgeous, inscrutable, different and their own, they connect centuries and civilizations. They gallop with its chest, withstand efforts with heart and win with character and a fiery spirit. Their eyes are persecuted, harassed and forced us to think. Once we connect ourselves to that magical view, it is very difficult to separate from it. It follows us everywhere. Many stories and legends, created on the slopes of an unexplored and interesting world, are woven in it. One of them is the story of Suzana Stojanović “Legend of the golden horse”: “Once upon a time there were two kings who could not agree on the boundaries and were continually fighting. As for equal forces, their armies failed to resolve long-standing conflicts. No side wanted to give up. After many exhausting battles, one of the two kings suggests that they go out to the duel, and so decide who of them will take part of the land that has caused many troubles of the two nations. The second king, not wanting to be anything worse than his opponent, accepts the challenge. After the decision was made, the kings started preparing for the duel. The most difficult of all was to choose the best horse in the sea of endurance and strength, which for years, from the conflict to the conflict, settled in them. The first king chose the most powerful and the second king the bravest one. Looking at their masters, they eagerly awaited the day of the struggle to show themselves in the best light. Only the earth under their hooves knew what a conflict of strength and courage seemed to be. The soil was trembling with the desire to win. The king struck the king, the crown on the crown, the horse on the horse, the spears crossed. Lightning broke the sky, and it seemed as if God himself was angry that the two rulers for years had not been able to stop at the abyss that had swallowed many lives. Still, they did not give up. They watched each other angrily as their spears cut the sky. They knew that one of them would remain in that field and that only one moment of inattention would suffice to bring down all the dreams. The struggle of two tireless rulers lasted for a long time, and just as everyone thought they would never end, the first king struck strongly on the other, whose brave horse, realizing that it had to give his life to save its master from death, jumped on the sharp spear of his opponent. Thus, the second king takes the victory over the long-standing enemy and decides requited his horse. Many advised him how to do it, but he nevertheless decided to bring his own decision, just as his brave friend, at the most critical moment, in order to save the life of its master, made its own decision. The king decides to build a large golden statue of his brave horse on the high hill, where the sharp spears were crossed. He invited all the sculptors from the kingdom to gather and start work as soon as possible. The best sculptors from all over the country came to participate in this unique and great project. They worked hard for years to faithfully show the uniqueness and strength of a brave winner. The voice of the magnificent wonder that stands on the top of the hill has expanded to the farthest kingdoms. People from all over the world came to see the statue of magical horse, which was proudly standing in the place of its death. It was glowing both day and night, and many travelers, in order not to go the wrong way, were oriented towards it. The king was proud of his sculptors and gave them a large sum of money for the effort. One night a prophet appeared to him in a dream: “Dear king, you have taken many victories and won many borders, but many people have remained unhappy after these victories. Don’t you think it’s time to retire and spend old age in peace? I know you are proud and never withdraw, but I also know that most of all you love your brave friend which gave its life for you. What is worth living in abundance if we do not spend it with those we love? You know that all the magics of this world are in my hands, so I have one that I only keep for you. The golden horse will revive if there is no war for the next ten years.” After this dream, the king decides never to fight again. He dissolves the army and decides to live in peace for the next ten years, in the hope that a miracle that the prophet has announced in his dream will happen. And the miracle happens. After many years of impatience, people from all over the world gathered around the high hill to attend a unique event. Dark clouds are above the mountain as much as on the day of the duel. The lightning began to radiate from all sides and everything became magic. From the darkness the hooves, neigh and galloping brave horse were heard. It ran through the mountain and went to his lord, as faithful as it was in the most difficult moments. There is a belief that it always appears where there is no war, as a symbol of peace. It’s easy to recognize it because it carries the Sun in the eyes.”