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Statuette - Lion and Serpent No.2
  • Lion and Serpent No.2
    Barye, Antoine-Louis, born 1796 - died 1875
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Lion and Serpent No.2

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    France (made)
    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1858 (made)
    ca. 1876-1882 (cast)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Barye, Antoine-Louis, born 1796 - died 1875 (Made)
    Brame , Hector , born 1831 - died 1899 (cast)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This statuette is by Antoine Louis Barye (1795-1875) who exhibited his first animal sculpture in the Paris Salon of 1831 when he was dubbed an 'Animalier', a maker of animals. Initially applied with derogatory overtones, this term became widely used for sculptors - of whom Barye was first and foremost - who specialised in this genre. He was referred to as the 'Michelangelo of the Menagerie' by the contemporaneous art critic Théophile Gautier.

Barye studied animals closely. He attended dissections of animals at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, where he served as the Master of Zoological Drawing from 1854 until his death. But he was also intensely interested in what lay underneath the physical appearance of animals - their inner vitality - and in this sense was in tune with his romantic contemporaries, for whom exotic or wild beasts held a particular fascination.

Although he obtained public commissions and enjoyed the patronage of the Dukes of Orleans, Luynes, Montpensier, and Nemours, Barye specialised in the relatively large-scale production small-scale animal sculptures, often cast by the foundry Barbédienne, but in this case by Hector Brame. The expanding commercial market of the middle class helped ensure that his and other animalier sculptures gained in popularity through the latter half of the 19th century.

Physical description

Statuette, bronze. A Lion striking a Serpent.

Place of Origin

France (made)
Paris (made)


ca. 1858 (made)
ca. 1876-1882 (cast)


Barye, Antoine-Louis, born 1796 - died 1875 (Made)
Brame , Hector , born 1831 - died 1899 (cast)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

BARYE signature cast through from the model


Width: 20 cm, Depth: 17 cm, Height: 17 cm

Object history note

Possibly from the Paris Salon 1855. Purchased in 1882 from Monsieur Serieys, Paris for use as a Schools Example. Transferred to the V&A’s Circulation Department in 1914 [Later transferred to BGM and eventually to A&S in 1982]. Signed BARYE but no crown to suggest Victor Paillard or foundry mark at all. Although listed as No. 2, this version was actually Barye's 3rd varient. It has larger, ferocious snake and tufted rather than flowing mane.

Descriptive line

Lion and Serpent No.2, Antoine-Louis Barye (1796-1875) and cast by Hector Brame (1831-1899), Bronze, France (Paris), first edition ca. 1858, this cast ca. 1876-1882

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Poletti, M and Richarme, A. Barye. Catalogue raisonné des sculptures. Paris. 2000. cat. no. A53.
Johnston, William and Kelly, Simon. Untamed: The Art of Antoine-Louis Barye.
Reinis, J.G., The Founders and Editors of The Barye Bronzes. New York, 2007.



Subjects depicted

Serpent; Lion


Sculpture Collection

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