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Lion and Snake
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Lion and Snake

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Delacroix's "Lion and Snake" is one of an important series of feline images that the artist created around mid-century and imparts an anthropomorphic view of the animal world based on contemporary science. The reclining lion traps a snake deftly against the ground with his two front paws, as he gazes almost contemplatively away from his victim. The snake, on the other hand, writhes in pain as he attempts free himself from the lion's grasp. Delacroix integrates the action with dark forms in the background, which emphasize the lion's contour, and with areas of light in the sky, which underscore highlights in the lion's paws, face, and body. The pose and the features of the cat's head, particularly the nostrils and eyes, derive from Delacroix's lion in his mural "Justice" in the Salon du Roi at the Palais Bourbon in Paris completed in 1838. If "Lion and Snake" and its source are allegories of justice over malevolence, the Walters Art Museum's lion suggests human introspection, whereas the Palais Bourbon's lion expresses brute force.
Date Description Narrative
11/15/1967Treatmentcleaned; re-housed
6/05/1986Loan Considerationexamined for loan
2/17/1992Treatmentmounted; re-housed
1/01/2002Treatmentexamined for exhibition; examined for loan; cleaned; mounted; re-housed
  • French Masterworks on Paper. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1992.
  • The Works of Antoine-Louis Barye. American Art Gallery (New York), New York. 1889-1890.
  • From Ingres to Gauguin: French Nineteenth Century Paintings Owned in Maryland. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1951.
  • Salon, Paris, 1846. Musée du Louvre, Paris. 1846.
  • Hommage à Baudelaire. Art Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park. 1968.
  • A Supple Brush: The Flowering of Continental Watercolors. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1979.
  • A Connoisseur's Portfolio: Nineteenth-century Drawings and Watercolors in the Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1983.
  • French Master Drawings. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1997-1998.
  • The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma. 2005-2006.
Provenance Mahler Collection (?); J. Montaignac; purchased by William T. Walters (through George A. Lucas as agent), Baltimore, March 22, 1888 [1]; inherited by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931. [1] The Diary of George A. Lucas, p. 664.
Inscriptions "Eug. Delacroix 1846" in black watercolor, lower right
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters, 1888

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watercolor heightened with gum on slightly textured, moderately thick, cream wove paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 15 1/4 x W: 23 1/4 in. (38.7 x 59 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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