Lion dévorant un cheval
Eugène Delacroix (Saint-Maurice 1798 - 1863 Paris), Lion devouring a horse, 1844, lithograph, 170 x 235 cm (motif); 31.2 x 44.8cm (sheet).
Bibliography: Robaut 805.
Very early in his career, Eugène Delacroix showed a singular taste for wildlife and in particular lions and tigers. As evidenced by a famous bill of 1829 addressed to Antoine-Louis Barye, indicating "the lion is dead, galloping", the young painter seemed enthusiastic about studying the anatomy of this exotic and oriental animal. Thirty years later, his taste for Fauves was intact, with Delacroix giving them a prominent place in his 1855 retrospective exhibition. In 1844 he produced this lithograph showing a lion devouring a horse. The leonine motif is indeed of great importance in his work. Lion hunts are also one of the great themes of Orientalism in which Delacroix excelled. As a keen observer of animal life, the artist wrote about it:
"What a prodigious variety of animals, and what varieties of species, form, destination! (...) Tigers, panthers, jaguars, lions, etc. Where does the movement that the sight of all this produced in me come from? From the fact that I got out of my everyday ideas which are my world, from my street which is my universe. How necessary it is to shake oneself from time to time, to put one's head outside, to try to read in creation, which has nothing in common with our cities and with the works of men" (Delacroix, Journal, January 19, 1847).