The Lion Hunt, Delacroix

The Lion Hunt, Delacroix
The Lion Hunt, Delacroix

Strongly linked to the sensitivity of romantic aesthetics we find the relationship between man and nature, this relationship highlights the idea that man turns out to be a small and insignificant being compared to the greatness of nature; In this way it is common that at this time we find works in which the human figure is represented in a very small size compared to the natural environment that surrounds it, proof of this are some of the canvases of the painter Caspar David Friedrich as Walker in a sea of ​​fog or your Rainbow in a mountainous landscape. However, at the same time that this influence of nature was produced as a means superior to man, we also found a romantic aspect in which man tries to dominate that natural environment that he surrounds himself with.


The work that we are analyzing here and which is en titled The Lion Hunt belongs to that second aspect in which the human being tries to impose himself on the natural environment. Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863) is one of the best romantic painters of all time; Member of a we althy family, his social position allowed him to have artistic training and the support of his family. Trained in the workshop of Narcisse Guérin, he studied the classics in the Louvre collections while also being influenced by more modern artists such as Goya. In the thirties travel Northfrom Africa a territory that will completely enchant him and that he will later transfer to his canvases.

The work that concerns us here is an oil on canvas in a horizontal format that measures just under a meter wide and just over seventy-five centimeters high. The e Chiga piece that is currentlyat the Art Institute of Chicago in the USArepresents, as its name indicates, a lion hunt. The theme of hunting large animals had been very recurrent in previous times, so we can see a strong influence of other works on Delacroix's canvas, in fact it seems that when he painted the painting the artist could have taken as references a work by Rubens en titled The Hunt for the Hippopotamus.

In a natural landscape where the dark blue sea intersects with the golden sand dunes we find a group of men fighting against the fierce animal, some of them -two Arab men specifically- have fallen into the fight while the rest continue to battle the lion in a circular motion. The brushstroke is heavy and very pasty, applied quickly, giving the work an aspect of non finite.

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