Death on the Pale Horse

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Benjamin West, Death on the Pale Horse, 1796
By SAI GONDI

Take a moment. Gaze upon this masterpiece produced by the coveted, reputable Benjamin West. One cannot merely scrutinize Death on the Pale Horse’s artistic magnificence and proceed without delving into West’s glorious representation of doom and destruction. A painting of this magnitude deserves the ownership of solely worthy and appreciative buyers. Why this painting over any other? It excels in both inner meaning and artistic beauty.

Some of West’s works typically relate to or symbolize Christianity. The Death of General Wolfe, another work by West, illustrates the Lamentation of Christ through several identifiable hints including the number of men portrayed, the positioning, and colors. Death on the Pale Horse, however, needs no hints due to how West directly portrays an excerpt from the Bible: “I looked and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the Earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the Earth” (Revelations 6:8). In the painting, Death itself storms into battle, stampeding over Humankind in an epic manor, accompanied by the feared Hades. Fiends rage upon the valiant people, as West masterfully depicts forces of Hell and Beasts of Earth warring with Humans. Biblical truth leaks from this painting, perfect for Christian believers who desire a piece to exemplify their faith.

In aspects of artistic value, look closely at this painting. The darkness helps add to this obscure, dark depiction. The motion flows towards to the center, where West illustrates humans’ weakness and subjugation to the forces of death. The impeccable detail and time spent on this work adds to its value, making it a must for only knowledgeable collectors. Why hang a painting preaching such dark ideas? It demonstrates sophistication and expertise when one can tell of the true meanings behind it. Also, the crisp detail makes it a worthy décor piece. Do not be a square and buy simple, nature portraits. Be more, be a triangle, or a circle! Buy a Rococo work of art, and impress guests and family. Something as valuable as a Benjamin West work will never sit on the shelves for long before someone comes invests in such a venture. Make a swift choice, for time is ticking.

Editor's Note: The authors were asked to write sales copy for Edme-François Gersaint, the prominent rococo art dealer who offered a printed catalog of available works.

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