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Antoine-Louis Barye (1795 - 1875)

Lot 163: ANTOINE-LOUIS BARYE FRENCH, 1795-1875

Sotheby's

December 10, 2004
London, United Kingdom

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Description

signed: BARYE

bronze, rich dark brown-green patina

Dimensions

26.5 by 35.5cm., 10 3/8 by 14in.

Notes

This light and detailed lifetime cast post-dates 1845 when the profile base was added to the bottom of the naturalised base found on versions cast around 1838.

Lion au serpent was initially exhibited in its plaster version at the Paris Salon of 1833, and is now considered one of Barye's most recognized and popular images. The sculpture received great public acclaim, and as a result Barye was named Chevalier of the Legion d'honneur. For the Salon of 1836, the work was cast in bronze for Louis-Phillipe, the Orleans monarch, who avidly supported Barye's artistic enterprise.
In addition to its stark realism and unrefined style, Lion au serpent can be understood allegorically, as a commemoration of the July revolution of 1830, which catapulted Louis-Phillip to the throne. The strong, courageous lion triumphs over the evil serpent, and exemplifies Barye's passion for the animal. One Salon review purported, 'what force and naturalism in the pose, how the line descending from the head to the tail is curved with grace and facility. The expression shows at the same time anger and fear. He has placed his paw, claws spread, on the snake, and we expect to see him react to the slightest movement of the reptile.'

RELATED LITERATURE
Poletti & Richarme (2000) A52, p.175-6

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European Sculpture & Works of Art 900-1900

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Sotheby's
December 10, 2004, 12:00 AM EST

London, United Kingdom

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