At the centre of this frieze-like composition are a horse, identified by the title as a pit pony, and a man. Represented here as if almost one composite creature, they can be seen as symbolising Herman's vision of the union of working man and nature. The treatment of the faces and limbs of the miners in the foreground suggest that they, too, are part of the landscape. Over the course of the 1950s Herman had developed a more sculptural style, abandoning his earlier reliance on subtle modelling and chiaroscuro. He admired in such artists as Van Gogh, Rouault, Munch and Permeke, 'their instinctive non-aristocratic attitude, their popular spirit, giving even awkwardness its fair due'.
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Josef Herman (33)