Lion Hunt

This rapidly executed sketch shows a hunting scene, a theme often portrayed by Delacroix. In the center, the rearing horse dominates the composition, and in the general commotion we can just make out lions, horses and horsemen, particularly on the right hand side.

The rapid, vigorous touch conveys the passion of the scene. The violence of this fierce fight bursts out in the red, green, orange, pink and ochre tones emphasized with a deep blue, the audacity of which was admired by Baudelaire.

A preparatory work for a painting commissioned by the French State, this is the most reliable evidence of it that still exists, as the canvas was partly destroyed in a fire.

Baudelaire admired the painting in 1855, but what he said about it also applies to the sketch:
“The Lion Hunt is a veritable explosion of colors (in the true sense of the word). Never have more beautiful, more intense colors penetrated the soul through the medium of the eyes; one could say that this painting, like sorcerers and hypnotists, projects its thoughts to a great distance. This singular phenomenon stems from the power of the colorist, the perfect balance of the tones, and the harmony between color and subject.”

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