Tiger Hunt 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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The Tiger Hunt dates from 1854 and is one of the more complex depictions of animals from the career of Eugene Delacroix. He also produced several different versions of lion hunts as well.

This particular painting can be found at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France, which itself is one of the most prestigious art galleries in the world, with a particularly impressive selection of work from the Impressionist era. The scene in front of us here depicts a hunt gone wrong, as the animal fights back with a menacing ferocity. As several figures try to assist the hunter who is under siege, he battles to stay on his horse in this mighty tussle. In the distance we find small routes around a mountain and a bright sky in the far distance. Visitors to see this piece in person will also be able to check out some other significant artworks such as Bal du moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Starry Night Over the Rhône by Vincent van Gogh and The Luncheon on the Grass by Edouard Manet.

Delacroix felt a great sympathy for animals, perhaps after having spent periods of time viewing them within local zoos. In Tiger Hunt he presents them as the victim, after being tracked down by humanity, whilst at the same time not forgetting to point out the potential dangers of some of these wild animals. He seemed to be rooting for them, though in other paintings they would very much be the subordinate to humans, such as with his horse artworks in which they are carrying around high ranking military leaders. He would take his animal depictions in many different ways across his career and was pretty exhaustive by the end, having really taken on as many different combinations as one can think of. He helped encourage other artists who followed on afterwards to do the same, often in alternative styles and art fashion started to change once more.

Delacroix would revisit the topics of tigers many times within his career, also capturing other animals as well including lions and horses. Some of his other depictions included the likes of Tiger and Snake and Tiger and he was always attempting to challenge himself artistically. You will find all manner of different postures and moods for these different creatures, many of which he had sketched in the early parts of his career whilst viewing from a safe distance in a Paris zoo. He felt a romantic connection with these creatures and always preferred the idea of them roaming free, which is how he generally depicted them within his paintings. His horses were a different category because of their use in many roles in society at that time, as well as their connection to the upper classes. He would also use lions which sometimes were related to classical texts, which was another theme which ran through the content of much of his work.