On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 01

By portraying this lion with his muscles taut, his fur standing on end, and his gaze intense, the artist conveyed the power of this snarling big cat. Medieval beasts, whether real or imaginary, were often imbued with symbolic meaning, as they are in animal fables today. It is not always possible, however, to reconstruct their specific intention in a given monument, and such beasts could be for “aesthetic delight,” as one thirteenth-century archbishop commented. The monastery from which this fresco comes was abandoned in 1841.

#11. Lion

Lion, Fresco, mounted on canvas, Spanish

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