Seated Lion sculpture Baltimore

Seated Lion sculpture, public art, Antoine- Louis barye,

Public Art: Seated Lion sculpture

Also Known As: Sitting Lion sculpture

Sculptor: © Antoine-Louis Barye (1795-1875)

Description: Baltimore's Seated Lion is a 1885 copy of the 1846 original Seated Lion by Barye that stood in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, France.

Date Unveiled: The Seated Lion was given to the city by wealthy businessman William Thompson Walters and unveiled on the 1st of february 1885.

Location: The Lion sits directly across from William Walters family home, 5 West Mount Vernon Place , baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Things you May Not Know About the Seated Lion:

On the base of the lion it has Barye’s birth and death dates.

If you look closely inserted on either side of the base are bronze reliefs of a lion walking. There are several inferred meanings to this. One being that the original Seated Lion sculpture was commissioned by King Louis-Philippe who came to power in France following the revolution which occurred in late July. Leo is the Zodiac sign for that time and is represented by a walking lion. Barye also used the lion symbolically for the July Column (marking the overthrow of another government).

Louis-Philippe commissioned Barye in 1846 to produce a statue to be a companion for the Lion and Serpent statue he had sculpted in 1833 for the Tuileries Gardens. The lion union would only last for a little over 20 years before,  in 1867, the somewhat plascid Seated Lion was moved to the entrance then known as the Guichet de l'Empereur on the Quai des Tuileries.

At the time Barye's seated lion was considered most unusual,  as lions were mostly portayed as ferocious beasts who were often depicted roaring.The calm majestic stillness of Barye's lion broke with the tradition and became so popular that it was made in four different sizes in Barye's 1847 catalog.

References: Kelly, Cindy; Outdoor Sculpture in Baltimore: A Historical Guide to Public Art in the Monumental City, 2011.

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