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  • Barye’s Lion Crushing a Serpent helped establish his reputation when he presented the work as a plaster model at Salon in 1833 along with nine other works.
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“Lion au Serpent”, bronze | after Antoine-Louis Barye, Barbedienne

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Signed “F. Barbedienne Fondeur” and “BARYE”; underside stamped “R” and inscribed in black ink 3647; in original green-black patina
Item # 810GPZ16U

Barye’s Lion Crushing a Serpent helped establish his reputation when he presented the work as a plaster model at Salon in 1833 along with nine other works. This exhibition was particularly interesting in the sheer range of work he presented, from the pure Animalier representation in Lion au Serpent to an Equestrian statue of Charles VI, a stag being hunted by hounds, a fifteenth century figure of a knight and a bust of the Duc d’Orléans. It marked the beginning of his influence on his contemporaries and the patronage of the Duke was an important turning point for his career.  The final work of Lion was cast lost-wax in bronze by Honoré Gonon and was purchased by the French government in 1835.  It was originally placed in the Tuileries Gardens (hence, Lion des Tuileries) and the group is now on display in the Salle de Barye at the Louvre.  It was one of Barye’s most famous subjects and many reductions of the work were cast, the present example post-humously cast by the foundry of Ferdinand Barbedienne using the original molds purchased by Barbedienne from Barye’s estate after his death in 1875.  There are several variations of this sculpture, notably in the slight differences in placement of the Lion and the formation of the base; this work has the exact base configurations of the 1833 exhibition model with the rounded naturalistic base. This particular example is exquisitely chiseled - note the attention shown to the sharp claws protruding from his paws, the fine chiseling of the hair throughout his mane and the gentle texturing of his fur.

Literature & Further Reading:

  • Bronzes by Antoine-Louis Barye, Parke-Bernet Galleries, The Bernard Black-Hugues Nadeau Collection, p. 10
  • Antoine-Louis Barye, Sculptor of Romantic Realism, Glenn F. Benge, no. 134, f. 105
  • Barye: Catalogue Raisonné des Sculptures, Poletti & Richarme, p. 174, f. A51
  • The Animaliers, James Mackay, p. 20-38
  • The Barye Bronzes: A Catalogue Raisonne, Stuart Pivar, f. A37, A. 38, A. 39 (also on the cover)
  • Bronze Sculpture of “Les Animaliers”, Jane Horswell, p. 5-80, present example p. 58
  • The Founders and Editors of the Barye Bronzes, J. G. Reinis, p. 43-47
  • Animals in Bronze, Christopher Payne, f. C75

Measurements:  5 1/2 H x 7 W x 3 7/8 D

Condition Report:
Fine original patina. Spot of wear to rear leg, very minor handling wear to raised relief (edges of ears, tips of paws). Overall remaining in exquisite condition throughout.