The horse motif undeniably stands out amongst Fernando Botero's sculptural oeuvre. The artist's fascination with the majestic animal is much owed to his travels in Europe during the 1950s when he encountered the works by the renowned Quattrocento Master Paolo Uccello and namely his famous cavalry painting Battle of San Romano. The painting, like the majority of Uccello's works, exhausts pictorial perspectival devices and depicts battling horses in various physical exertions at all angles. The artist has since then identified the equine form, as well as the human physique, as his favoured platform to implement his widely recognised aesthetics of undulating musculature in exaggerated volumes.
Botero did not begin exploring the sculptural field until he was in his early 30's. At the time, he experimented with porous materials such as acrylic resin and sawdust since bronze was costly. Prior to developing his interest in the three-dimensional realm, Botero has been a fervent figurative painter whose paintings display strong influence of Spanish colonial architecture. The specific architectural language in discussion, characterised by the contrasting elements of practical, robust simplicity and excessive embellishment of the Baroque, seems to have found its sculptural equivalent in Botero's bronzes. Exemplified by Horse, the sculpture's highly chased surface emanates a minimalist aura while the superfluous trait typical of the Baroque is translated into the overly inflated appearance of Botero's sculptural bodies. The resulting effect is a sensual visual experience whereby the viewer's gaze caresses the voluptuous anatomy of the rotund creature guided by the gliding light on the smooth flawless alloy. This is further encouraged by the animal's seemingly tamed nature, signified by its submissively lowered head.
Universality is core to Botero's sculptural intentions. Contrasting to the Classical equestrian bronzes, the artist opted for idealisation through minimal sculpting instead of meticulous depiction of details in order to constitute the universal equine. Calm and static, Botero's Horse heralds spiritual and intellectual beauty as he challenges the stereotypical representations of power and strength, playing with the duality of the fat and the robust. Corresponding with its interchangeable visual language, horse as an artistic subject matter is equally valued in both the Eastern and Western context symbolising spirituality, culture and civilisation.