Lion Attacking a Horse

Object Details


Lion Attacking a Horse


Antonio Susini (Italian, active 1572 - 1624)

or Giovanni Francesco Susini (Italian, 1585 - 1653)

after models by Giambologna (Giovanni da Bologna or Jean de Boulogne) (Flemish, 1529 - 1608)




Italy (Place created)


first quarter of 17th century




24 x 28 cm (9 7/16 x 11 in.)

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The tabletop bronze of a lion attacking a horse exhibits a dramatic life and death struggle typical of the intense emotionalism of early Baroque sculpture. Both the bronze and its pendant, Lion Attacking a Bull, feature a wild beast, the ferocious lion, attacking a domesticated animal and forcing it to collapse. The artist delighted in the power of the animals, whose muscular contortions express their physical struggle and psychological anguish. In Lion Attacking a Horse, the artist emphasized the brutality of the kill, using a circular composition to focus attention on the lion's claws tearing through the horse's hide. Animal subjects were extremely popular in the early 1600s and a genre for which the sculptor, Giambologna, was well known.

Lion Attacking a Horse is based on a fragmentary antique statue now in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome. Many casts of the Lion Attacking a Horse are extant; the Museum's bronze is among the highest in quality of those that survive.

- about 1738

Beauvais Collection (England) [sold: Collection of Mr. Beauvais, 2 March 1738 or 1739 to Sir Jacob Bouverie.]

Sir Jacob Bouverie, third Bart. (father of the first earl of Radnor), 1694 - 1761 (Longford Castle, near Salisbury, Wiltshire), by descent to Jacob Pleydell-Bouverie, 1761.

- 1993

Jacob Pleydell-Bouverie, eighth earl of Radnor, born 1927 [sold, Christie's London, 7 December 1993, lot 108, to Cyril Humphris.]

1993 - 1994

Cyril Humphris, S.A. (London), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994.

Lion Attacking a Horse from the Capitoline Museums, Rome (August 10, 2012 to May 6, 2013)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, (Malibu), August 10, 2012 to May 6, 2013