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The Mares
of Abderos

The motif of the horse in Sassu’s overall painting production is today easily and widely recognized. The animal, already present in the battle scenes, is represented in a natural context where there is no space for the human figure.

The inspiration for these compositions, rich in dynamism, energy, and naturalness, came to him both from having seen at an early age Boccioni’s Cittą che sale in Fedele Azari’s apartment, and from his encounter during his French experience (stays in Paris in 1934-35) with the works of Delacroix.


Large Rearing Horse

At Albisola, where he went after the war, he took up the theme of the horse again, reworking it in Tullio Mazzotti’s ceramics studio. He experimented with the chromatic and plastic effects of work in three dimensions, while not abandoning his attention to the theme in painting. Sassu’s work in this medium shows a certain affinity with contemporary work being done by Fontana.

From this moment on, ceramic sculptures like Horse and Little Pink Horse of 1948 and Black Horse of 1952 offer themselves as variations on a theme that he treated often from the early 1940s on: for example in Cavallo sulla spiaggia and Cavalli imbizzarriti of 1942, The Mares of Abderos of 1943, and Horses of 1944. This subject recurs frequently throughout his subsequent work, also on a monumental scale, as in the sculpture of 1960 Large Rearing Horse, installed on Via Brera in Milan.