"Passion and Patience"
Standing six feet wide and four feet tall, “Passion and Patience” is one of the larger oil on canvas works by mid-nineteenth century’s sporting enthusiast John Sargent Noble. Once featured on the cover of the prestigious Equine Images Magazine, this particular work is considered a favorite among horse enthusiasts everywhere.
John Sargent Noble. "Passion and Patience",
However “Passion and Patience” stands out among Noble’s sporting cannon of paintings most notably in its title. Noble would never have been accused of being overly creative when naming his works. There is “The Smithery” “Dogs after the Hunt” “Otter Hounds” and “The Game Bag” just to name a few of his safe monikers. Noble titled paintings systematically and literally.
“Passion and Patience” are two words that carry high emotional content, but leave the question, why? The center of the painting features the rear side of two horses, one black, and one white. The horse furthermost from the viewer has it's back leg extended, ready to be shod. However the farrier is suspended both in motion and in thought, he appears to be staring out into the far left corner of the painting with no real indication of what is holding his gaze or is he looking at the dog? Has someone entered the smithery?
Moreover, man’s best friend, the most common subject matter of Noble paintings, is looking expectantly at his master. The white horse glances at his stablemate who is looming protectively over the dog. Patience, yes, everyone seems to be expecting something and waiting for the man to take action, but passion? Something does seem to distract the farrier from completing his task; perhaps it is a passionate thought. Or is the passion the connection between dog and man or horse and dog? The farrier seems to be the most disengaged from the scene. His attention appears directed at something the viewer is not privy to.
Completed and signed in 1883, Noble’s “Passion and Patience” will continue to be admired for its homage to the life of the smithery and perhaps in for its ambiguous emotion as well.