The J. Paul Getty Museum

Lion Attacking a Horse

Object Details


Lion Attacking a Horse


Antonio Susini (Italian, 1558 - 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



Object Number:



24 × 28 cm (9 7/16 × 11 in.)

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Object Description

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, March 2, 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, British, 1927 - 2008 [sold, Christie's, London, December 7, 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

Alberge, D. "Bronzes to Secure Future of House." Independent (September 16, 1993), p. 4.

Checkland, S. J. "Repair Bills Force Sale of Statues." Times (September 17, 1993), p. 16.

G.T. "Handel und Auktionen." Kunst und Antiquitäten, no. 12 ([December] 1993), p. 61.

"Casting A Wider Net." Art and Auction 17 (December 1994), p. 74.

Melikian, Souren. "A Tale of Shrinking Supply." Art & Auction 16 (March 1994), pp. 70, 76.

"Works of Art Sales: Giambolognas Give Christie's a Small Edge." The Art Newspaper 34 (January 1994), p. 26.

Jodidio, Philip. "Le Monastére de Brentwood." Connaissance des arts 511 (November 1994), p. 137, ill.

"Acquisitions/1994." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 23 (1995), p. 122, no. 102, ill.

Melikian, Souren. "Acquisitions: Sculpture." J. Paul Getty Museum Calendar (winter 1994-95), unpaginated.

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 48-49, 76, ill.

Bassett, Jane, and Peggy Fogelman. Looking at European Sculpture: A Guide to Technical Terms (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 19.

Christie's, London. Sale Catalogue. 1 July 1997, lot 73 (mentioned in passing).

Fusco, Peter, Peggy Anne Fogelman, and Marietta Cambareri. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: European Sculpture (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1998), pp. 44-45, no. 13, ill., entry by Peggy Anne Fogelman.

Fogelman, Peggy, and Peter Fusco, with Marietta Cambareri. Italian and Spanish Sculpture: Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002), pp. 177-89, ills. 23, 23D-23F.

Bryant, Julius. Kenwood: paintings in the Iveagh Bequest (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), pp. 96, 98, fig. 3.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 218, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 8th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), pp. iv, 251, ill.

Wolohojian, Stephan. "A Grand Tableau. Charles Le Brun's Portrait of the Jabach Family." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin v. 75, no. 1 (Summer 2017), pp. 22-23, ill.