A magnificent mid19th century bronze study of a seated lion with excellent autumnal green, black, brown and orange patination, the surface with crisp hand chased detail, raised on integral oval stepped plinth and signed BARYE. Cast in two sizes this is an excellent example of the very rare larger size.
In 1846, Louis-Philippe commissioned Barye to produce a pendant for the statue in the Tuileries Gardens, “Lion au Serpent”. The two statues stayed in the gardens for over twenty years. In 1867, “Lion Assis” was moved to the entrance then known as the Guichet de l’Empereur on the Quai des Tuileries, where it still can be seen today.
Since ancient times, the lion has served as a symbol of majestic power. The imposing stature, royal beauty and simple, masterly treatment of this lion command admiration. But the monumental stillness of Barye’s lion was most unusual at the time. Despite this the iconography of Barye’s animals was much admired at the time, particularly by the painter Léon Bonnat who wrote “No touch of hesitation in the design, in the full strong form. The great line which sweeps from muzzle to tail is superb, and standing before this bronze one has the feeling that here is might tempered by beauty.”