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Winners of the international Art&Cavallo competition announced

7 November 2021

Art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, attending the award ceremony, commented on all the works on show in the exhibition and spoke briefly about the figure of horses in the history of art

Hall 2 at Fieracavalli this morning hosted the announcement of the winners of the international Art&Cavallo equestrian art exhibition competition conceived by architect Federica Crestani, which celebrated its third edition this year.

The three winners in the painting, photography and sculpture categories were selected by a jury from more than 150 artists from all over the world, from the United States to Australia by way of Croatia and Germany. An international open call was made possible this year thanks to the partnership with the equestrian art gallery Paard Verzameld in Amsterdam.

The audience at the award ceremony also included a guest of honour: art critic Vittorio Sgarbi who, in addition to commenting on all the works on display – including the winners – spoke briefly about the figure of horses in art, starting from rock art and then passing on from the horses of the Parthenon by Phidias to those of astride St. Mark’s Marco in Venice: “After the human figure, figures of horse are certainly the most widely represented in art. Horses have always expressed dynamism and power. It only need be mentioned that even with the advent of motor vehicles – the greatest symbol of modernity – the power of their engines is indicated as horsepower.”

The first prize for painting was awarded to the work Horse (tempera on photographic paper) by artist Andrea Baleri from Bergamo, whose works are part of an artistic current where painting is no longer a means of representation but a gesture of expressiveness, an essential graphic sign.

The winner in the photography category was Maria Shutova, of Russian origin, taking first place thanks to her skill in capturing the soul of horses through three equine portraits. A skill that can only derive from deep knowledge of the animal so that character of each subject can be portrayed to perfection.

Croatian artist Hrvoje Dumančić convinced the jury in the sculpture category. With Sphera, Pangea and Circulation, Dumančić sought to make equestrian art more popular; as an artist and show jumping rider alike, horses have always helped him find new ways and ideas to transfer his thoughts and points of view into a work of art.

A special mention for Paolo Nicolai whose work Selene’s horse distraught with fatigue in recycled plastics earned the Kep Italia Prize. Reusing and transforming plastic as if it were marble or bronze is, for Nicolai, a metaphor for a new artistic permanence: plastic, like the new marble, will survive us, just as classic marbles survived the classical age.

First held in 2019 with the aim of promoting the figure of horses and a more ethical and respectful approach towards this noble animal, the Art&Cavallo contemporary art exhibition brings together works by the 30 finalists in the international competition and  is open to visitors in Hall 2 until Sunday 7 and again 12-14 November.

This year, the Art&Cavallo project is the result of collaboration with KEP Italia – the riding helmet specialist which has always been attentive to the promotion of artistic and cultural themes – and Banca Passadore which until -14 November, itself hosts the first collateral Art&Cavallo event in Palazzo Balladoro.