Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery

Walking lion

Statuette
1836 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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. 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.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Bronze
Brief Description
Walking lion, by Barye and cast by Barbedienne, France (Paris), 1836
Dimensions
  • Height: 23cm
  • Length: 39.4cm (Note: approx)
  • Width: 11cm (Note: approx)
approx (judged by eye measured through glass case)
Subject depicted
Summary
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. 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.
Bibliographic References
  • Poletti, M, Richarme, A. Barye. Catalogue raisonné des sculptures. Paris. 2000. Cat. No. A61
  • Pivar, S. 'The Barye Bronzes'. Antique Collectors' Club. 1974, pp. 131
Collection
Accession Number
S.EX.29-1882

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record createdApril 5, 2005
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