Lion Attacking a Horse
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Attributed to Antonio Susini, sculptor; or Giovanni Francesco Susini, sculptor; after models by Giambologna, sculptor
Italian, Florence, 1600 - 1625
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.

Detail Views

Horse's face

Lion biting horse
Lion biting horse

Other Views