This work of Petrov-Vodkin in Soviet times was super popular and familiar to everyone, despite the dominance of social realism. The canvas is striking colorful, bright, scale. The coloring of the picture is built on the contrast of blue and red colors, one can see a strong influence of symbolism – simplicity of forms, plain colors.
One of the symbols of Russia has always been a horse. Often his image is used in painting and in literature. In the picture of Petrov-Vodkin, the image of a red horse is used in the same context. But its color in no way refers to the Bolsheviks, who came to power in 1917. Red, almost purple color is used here as a symbol of aggression and strength. In addition, the word “red” in Russian has another meaning – “beautiful.” Like Kazimir Malevich, Petrov-Vodkin often used the techniques and techniques of traditional Russian icon painting.
The red horse, without doubt, is the center of the picture. It is enormous, just does not fit on the canvas. His color and scale make the picture unreal, it seems that he consciously allows his rider to control it.
His rider – a naked boy – emphasizes the power of the horse and plays the second role, even his face is shown schematically. In addition to them, the picture shows two more horses with riders – white and orange, but they are not drawn in such detail and clearly as the main character of the picture – the horse of red color.
The surrounding space adds irreality to what is happening – the coastline in the form of a smooth arc, the color of the surrounding vegetation.