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Dead horses by egilpaulsen Dead horses by egilpaulsen
Dead horses stuck in the frozen swamp – left to rotten when spring finally arrives..

EDIT: I found the source of the story that inspired me to paint this piece; Curzio Malaparte, in his war novel 'Kaputt,' memorably describes the plight of hundreds of horses frozen alive into Lake Ladoga. The novel is classified as fiction, however it is basically a memoir of his time on the Eastern front during World War II working as a journalist for an Italian publication. He was really in the places and doing the things he described in the novel.

I lack the knowledge to speak to whether the following passage is an embellishment, but to me the tone of the rest of the novel would suggest otherwise. Either way, you'll probably want to read the passage:

"The lake is not deep there, not more than six feet; but a hundred yards from the shore the bottom suddenly drops. Pressed within the narrow space (the lakeshore curves inward there forming a small bay) between the deeper water and the barrier of fire, the horses clustered, shuddering with cold and fear, their heads stretched out above the surface of the water. Those nearer to land were scorched by the flames and reared and struggled to hoist themselves onto the backs of the others, tried to push a way open by biting and kicking. And while still madly struggling, the ice gripped them.

The north wind swooped down during the night. (The north wind blows from the Murmansk Sea, like an angel of doom, crying aloud, and the land suddenly dies.) The cold became frightful. Suddenly, with the peculiar vibrating noise of breaking glass, the water froze. The heat balance was suddenly broken, and the sea, the lakes, the rivers froze. In such instances, even sea waves are gripped in mid-air and become rounded ice waves suspended in the void.

On the following day, when the first ranger patrols, their hair singed, their faces blackened by smoke, cautiously stepped over the warm ashes in the charred forest and reached the lakeshore, a horrible and amazing sight met their eyes. The lake looked like a vast sheet of white marble on which rested hundreds upon hundreds of horses’ heads. They appeared to have been chopped off cleanly with an ax. Only the heads stuck out of the crust of ice. And they were all facing the shore. The white flames of terror still burnt in their wide-open eyes. Close to the shore a tangle of wildly rearing horses rose from the prison of ice."
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:iconkatsakoschek:
KatSakoschek Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2016  Student General Artist
This is brilliant
Reply
:iconwarriormist:
WarriorMist Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2015
Is there more to the story? I think you should draw more from this story. The way you capture it is beautiful and amazing yet it brings a sense of sorrow.
Reply
:icondaggidina:
daggidina Featured By Owner May 2, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Great art, but such a horrible story behind.. o.o
Reply
:iconbabypandamonster:
BaByPaNdAmOnStEr Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Professional Artist
I love this!
Reply
:iconcommander-rolex:
commander-rolex Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015
Artax?
Reply
:icontwiggystone:
TwiggyStone Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Its really eerie and amazing.
Reply
:icondinogalaxy:
DinoGalaxy Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Haunting piece of literature. Haunting piece of art. Absolutely love the visuals. Can even feel how cold it must have been. Shivers. 
Reply
:iconegilpaulsen:
egilpaulsen Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Student General Artist
thanks :)
Reply
:icondinogalaxy:
DinoGalaxy Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My pleasure!
Reply
:icongoldkoifish:
goldkoifish Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Its so morbid and beautiful.
Reply
:iconriaverobenthil:
RiaVeroBenthil Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This painting reminds of the scene in the Neverending Story; it is the part where Artax, the horse, drowns in the swamp.  It was one of the most traumatizing cinematic event that I have seen from my childhood.  The backstory of "Kaputt" really animates this piece of art; your audience will be able to feel the Gestalt technique that radiates from it.

Overall, "Dead Horses" is an emotional piece; a truly, haunting beauty.
Reply
:iconegilpaulsen:
egilpaulsen Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2014  Student General Artist
thank you :)
Reply
:iconameryl770:
ameryl770 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
,'(
Reply
:iconameryl770:
ameryl770 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
DEMENTED
Reply
:iconwurv:
Wurv Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You can feel the cold air. The mist around.
Awesome work of color and shading
Reply
:iconhorsecookies:
HorseCookies Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful and hauntingly gripping. I had shivers as I read the inspiration text for it. Gorgeous piece. c:
Reply
:iconbmthtori:
BMTHTori Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
so cool
Reply
:icontanikel:
tanikel Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013   Photographer
Eerie. That's the first word that popped my head when I saw this. I couldn't imagine walking up on a scene such as this. It looks like the kind of thing that would haunt your dreams for a good while.
Reply
:iconcybergal2013:
CyberGal2013 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013
Like, wow..
Reply
:iconcerealkiller98:
CerealKiller98 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013
This is very cool! Not trying to say that dead horses are cool or anything:shifty: ... but just the concept of everything is very well done!
Reply
:iconkagrmom:
kagrmom Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2013  Professional Writer
Very sad story, but a great drawing nonetheless!! :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconefiletahi-a:
EFileTahi-A Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013
I love the image's feeling but I can't stop wondering, how could a horse freeze to death while standing up?
Reply
:iconegilpaulsen:
egilpaulsen Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2013  Student General Artist
Curzio Malaparte, in his war novel 'Kaputt,' memorably describes the plight of hundreds of horses frozen alive into Lake Ladoga. The novel is classified as fiction, however it is basically a memoir of his time on the Eastern front during World War II working as a journalist for an Italian publication. He was really in the places and doing the things he described in the novel.

I lack the knowledge to speak to whether the following passage is an embellishment, but to me the tone of the rest of the novel would suggest otherwise. Either way, you'll probably want to read the passage:

"The lake is not deep there, not more than six feet; but a hundred yards from the shore the bottom suddenly drops. Pressed within the narrow space (the lakeshore curves inward there forming a small bay) between the deeper water and the barrier of fire, the horses clustered, shuddering with cold and fear, their heads stretched out above the surface of the water. Those nearer to land were scorched by the flames and reared and struggled to hoist themselves onto the backs of the others, tried to push a way open by biting and kicking. And while still madly struggling, the ice gripped them.

The north wind swooped down during the night. (The north wind blows from the Murmansk Sea, like an angel of doom, crying aloud, and the land suddenly dies.) The cold became frightful. Suddenly, with the peculiar vibrating noise of breaking glass, the water froze. The heat balance was suddenly broken, and the sea, the lakes, the rivers froze. In such instances, even sea waves are gripped in mid-air and become rounded ice waves suspended in the void.

On the following day, when the first ranger patrols, their hair singed, their faces blackened by smoke, cautiously stepped over the warm ashes in the charred forest and reached the lakeshore, a horrible and amazing sight met their eyes. The lake looked like a vast sheet of white marble on which rested hundreds upon hundreds of horses’ heads. They appeared to have been chopped off cleanly with an ax. Only the heads stuck out of the crust of ice. And they were all facing the shore. The white flames of terror still burnt in their wide-open eyes. Close to the shore a tangle of wildly rearing horses rose from the prison of ice."
Reply
:iconefiletahi-a:
EFileTahi-A Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2013
Thank you for the reply!
Reply
:iconvicky1234123:
vicky1234123 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
OMG i love it so much
Reply
:iconkeeper-of-lulu:
Keeper-Of-Lulu Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Faving for two reasons: One, because this is amazing, and Two, because I believe I just made the 243rd comment. ;)
Reply
:iconegilpaulsen:
egilpaulsen Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Student General Artist
thanks :)
Reply
:iconkuronooo:
Kuronooo Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist
Oh, wow. o: I love horses, and I can't stand to see one dead... But... Thi is just breath taking!! o:
Reply
:iconblacknastopian:
BlackNastopian Featured By Owner May 4, 2013   Traditional Artist
Two horses go into a swamp in the middle of winter, Get stuck somehow and died.
Reply
:iconbattousaiblade7:
BattousaiBlade7 Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2013
oh God. this is heartbreaking and so dark
i love horses.
but this photo. it's gorgeous
Reply
:iconegilpaulsen:
egilpaulsen Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2013  Student General Artist
thank you. It is not a photo
Reply
:iconbattousaiblade7:
BattousaiBlade7 Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2013
photo, artwork, pic.
Reply
:iconthe-fuckin-freaxx:
the-fuckin-freaxx Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013  Student Writer
I love horses... but I kinda love pain too. Yeah, "beautifully monstrous" would be my words (:
Reply
:iconashlynr:
AshlynR Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome!!
Reply
:iconcastilvani:
Castilvani Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
Very cool!
Reply
:iconragnelle-was-taken:
Ragnelle-was-taken Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
Poor horses!

But it was very well done.
Reply
:iconsketcherjak:
sketcherjak Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
This. Is. Brilliant!
Reply
:iconkamay2002:
kamay2002 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
AMAZING painting! - but sad truth
Reply
:iconkristdaoud:
Kristdaoud Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
brilliant !!!
Reply
:icongothold:
gothold Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
this reminds me of photos taken during WW1 of horses killed on the battle fields between 1914-1915. Most were killed by artillery. theres one of half a horse up in a tree. very eerie.
Reply
:iconegilpaulsen:
egilpaulsen Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Student General Artist
I heard some of those stories. Do you know where I can find the photos?
Reply
:icongothold:
gothold Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012
well i have a book titled, "The Great War and the shaping of the Twentieth century" but I'm sure there ar many WW1 web sites that may have photos.
there were also photos of disfigured soldiers know as the men with broken faces. since there was no plastic surgery back then many of these unfortunate men were fitted out with tin masks painted flesh colered to hide the damge to their faces.
Reply
:iconminiabby:
miniabby Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Student
so sad because I love horses but so cool because this is an amazing painting and I love zombies and creepy stuff
Reply
:iconkaynessart:
KaynessArt Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
dark, morbid, love the use of contrasting values and compositions.

what a masterpiece!
Reply
:iconegilpaulsen:
egilpaulsen Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012  Student General Artist
thanks Kay :)
Reply
:iconunbornlegend:
UnbornLegend Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012  Student General Artist
This is a really nice painting. I love it, you're a very good artist.
Reply
:icontaylortottlove:
Taylortottlove Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
amazing
Reply
:iconspiderpsalms:
SpiderPsalms Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Great shapes and shadows! I like the pairing of the two decaying beasts.
Reply
:iconthesixsamurai-irou:
TheSixSamurai-Irou Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012  Student Artist
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
THIS IS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!
HOW COULD YOU PAINT THIS!!!!!
it does have good detail though.and it does look really realistic.
BUT HOW COULD YOU DRAW DEAD HORSES!!!!!
I LOVE HORSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I WILL STAB YOU WITH A FORK!:fork:
There... now you've learned your lesson.
Reply
:iconuchihahiromi:
UchihaHiromi Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012
I like it very different
Reply
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