Lot 31
  • 31

Antoine-Louis Barye

25,000 - 35,000 GBP
25,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Antoine-Louis Barye
  • cheval surpris par un lion (seconde version) (horse surprised by a lion)

  • signed: BARYE
  • bronze, dark brown patina with green and red-brown highlights, on veined green marble base
  • overall: 44.5cm., 17½in.

Catalogue Note

From 1823 Barye frequented the menagerie of the Musée nationale d'histoire naturelle, where he could scrutinise the wild animals preserved in their natural attitudes. Another such occasion was called to his attention by his friend Delacriox in a letter: 'Le lion est mort. Au galop. Le temps qu'il fait nous activer'. The lion in question was one of Admiral Rigny's great lions in the Paris Menagerie whose corpse had been transferred to the Laboratoire d'Anatomie. There the painter and sculptor took anatomical drawings from the carcass and the lion was placed in a number of lifelike positions, including being suspended with paws extended in the manner of the Cheval Surpris. From this Barye created a composition with a rearing horse, quoting from antique originals and Giambologna's Lion Attacking a Horse, but reinterpreting them through Romantic realism.

The motif of the rearing horse and lion appears with some adaptions in another Barye composition - the Deux Cavaliers arabes tuant un lion. There are casts of the Cheval Surpris in the Louvre Museum, the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore and the Metropolitan Museum, New York. 

M. Poletti and A. Richarme, Barye. Catalogue raisonné des sculptures, Paris, 2000, no. A122, p. 256