BARYE, Antoine-Louis

Paris 1795 - Paris 1875

Cheval surpris par un lion

Horse Surprised by a Lion

c. 1850

bronze (atelier)


Dimensions (HxWxD): 15 38 × 5 18 × 15 14 in.

inscribed, front center of base: BARYE

Acc. No.: 2003.163

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Nelson L. St. Clair, Jr.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

© Artist:


  • 2003, Gift of Mrs. Nelson L. St. Clair, Jr.


  • Museum's website, accessed July 27, 2018


  • 2001 Richmond
    Nature Leashed and Unleashed: Barye and 19th Ceentury Animal Sculptures, Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, February 20-July 22, 2001

    2016 Richmond/Middleburg
    The French Horse from Géricault to Picasso: Works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, University of Richmond, March 3-April 25, 2016; Middleburg, VA, The National Sporting Library & Museum, May 6-July 31, 2016


  • Museum's website, August 1, 2018 :
    The theme of a horse attacked by a lion goes back to Hellenistic sculpture, as in an example in the Capitoline Museum in Rome, and was revived in the Renaissance by Giambologna and in the Enlightenment by George Stubbs. Barye seldom represented the lion as an aggressor, preferring to portray the nobility and grandeur of the beast. It was widely believed that lions attacked only to acquire food, whereas tigers killed for pleasure. In this sculpture, the spiraling composition masterfully heightens the drama of the confrontation between two noble creatures. This is one of Barye’e finest and most famous models, for which he made a version in 1833.