OPITZ, Georg Emanuel
(b. 1775, Praha, d. 1841, Leipzig)

Tending to the Horses

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Watercolour over pencil on paper, 240 x 285 mm
Private collection

This watercolour represents a scene of rural village life. A man has paused to ask directions from a group of Cossacks, one of whom points him in the right direction. His companions and the young apprentice are in the middle of lunch, and bread and vegetables can be seen on the table by a flask. The Cossacks made their living from tending to horses and one of them is depicted watering two animals. Cluttered around their stand are various tools of their trade.

Opitz often depicted Russians and Cossacks in his work, most notably in a series of watercolours which shows them trying to adjust to the Parisian lifestyle after their invasion of the city in 1814.