Lion Rending Apart a Corpse Eugene Delacroix Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This painting is loosely dated at around circa 1847-1850 and remains in a private collection. Lions appear in many Delacroix paintings, from a variety of different mediums.

The image that we have available of the painting appears to suggest that it was completed using watercolours. Several areas have light washes of colour that would be consistent with this, and the colours are also more muted than when he used oils. The lion for example would normally have brighter tones of yellow and gold that would help its fur to stand out from the darker tones of the background. The blue used in the trousers of the figure on the floor would also stand out much more. Instead, the lion, the man and the ground all merge into fairly similar tones. We have to look more closely in order to understand the piece than we might have had he used the brighter oils that are found in most of his major artworks.

This is one of many paintings from this artist to be found in a private collection. Most of those who buy at auction these days will not allow their own name to be given publicly as this can attract unwanted attention from criminals. The majority of his oeuvre is actually found within major art galleries and museums who have collected his pieces over the years, though normally would receive them through bequethed donations. Any of those will remain unavailable for sale because this artist's work is highly prized and any institution would not wish to part with any of them, whatever the price. Auctioned pieces are therefore rare, meaning their prices can be higher on the rare occasions that this artist's work becomes available for purchase.

The genre of this piece is Orientalist, and Delacroix worked in this style many times. He loved to travel and discover new cultures, normally making large numbers of artworks based on them after he returned home. Many sketchbooks were uncovered from his career which detail the various places that he visited and the people that he met. Although he would sometimes need to adapt to closed behaviour when some would not want to be captured in his paintings or to allow him to look around their homes, but he understood the differences between cultures and respected these wherever he was at the time.