Motif: after Franz Marc
Type: Embroidered painting
Technique: Mixed embroidery
Year: 2017 - ongoing
Edition: Limited (99)

Size: Medium
Dimension: 70 x 70 cm | 27.6 x 27.6 in
Number of stitches: over 1.3 mio
Thread length: over 19 km | over 11.8 mi
Thread colours: 41
Development: over 400 person hours


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About the artwork

The vibrant colours of the horse and landscape are not chosen just for their striking effects. Franz Marc used colour symbolism in his compositions; blue usually represents things male, severe, and spiritual, while yellow represents feminine joy, and red encases violence and danger. The horse is also youthful, its skin smooth and unblemished and it radiates muscular potency and energy. The creature is a being of a higher order with ethereal, otherworldly power. An innocent natural force that opposes being corrupted by man. The painting therefore celebrates the idea of spirituality battling materialism.

This smaller sized piece does not fall behind the depth and complexity of its larger counterpart which Ercigoj created in cooperation with ZSK as embroidered art, emphasizing the vibrancy of colours that Franz Marc himself focused on, while adding a third dimension to the image: embroidery threads give the art a life of its own, reflecting light in different directions and adding depth.

About the artist

The painter Franz Marc was one of the key figures of the German expressionist movement. His work is characterized by bright primary colours, abstracted portrayal of subjects, stark simplicity and profound emotions.

He is most famous for his images of brightly coloured animals, especially horses which he used to convey profound messages about humanity nearing its downfall. He looked to the primeval world as an antidote to modern civilisation from which he felt increasingly alienated. Nature and animals were more than just pleasing to him; they were spiritual beings and means of relocating what had been lost in toxic modern times. Thus, his paintings of animals are suffused with an almost meditative reverence.


Extraordinary number of stitches

In a classic embroidery, the number of stitches is somewhere between 20,000 and 200,000, and is limited by stretching and contracting of materials. By overcoming this limitations, we are able to make embroideries with millions of stitches which enables us to produce photorealistic embroideries and recreate any painting of any artistic style.

Innovation of layering

We layer multiple colours of threads and so create rich embroidery and colour texture that is impossible to create with classic one-layer embroidery technique. By layering, we develop colour transitions and shadowing, by which we create multiple-colour surfaces, similar to pointillism painting.

Smooth transitions and shading

By intertwining threads of endless colours and creating colour transitions, we can shape soft shadows, make one surface transition into another and mix colours into an endless multitude of hues. This way, we can also recreate motives from photographs and sophisticated art paintings which wouldn’t be possible with classic embroidery technique, using vector surfaces.

Sophisticated colour calibration

Usually in embroidery, 10 or 20, maybe 30 colours of threads are used. We use around 1,000 colour hues and if a colour still doesn’t match the desired one, we create it by layering and colour transitions. We have digitally scanned colours of all threads by using a spectrograph, so we can colour match any colour from an original material or from CMYK, RGB or Pantone colour schemes.

Blue horse I by Ercigoj

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