A Hunter Stalking a Lion in the Mountains of North Africa

Eugène Delacroix French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690

Delacroix’s six-month voyage to North Africa in 1832—facilitated by the French invasion of Algeria—fueled his imagination for the remainder of his career. This signed, finished pastel, a rarity in the artist’s oeuvre, stages a suspenseful scene in a landscape inspired by the Atlas Mountains. In the foreground, a hunter crouches on a rocky outcrop. With poised tension, he watches a lion, who appears ready to disappear over the ridge in the distance at any moment. The echo between their four-legged postures invites comparison between man and his prey. The expressive pose as well as the execution, which integrated Delacroix’s technique as a draftsman with painterly layering of color, surely appealed to the former owner of this work, the artist Edgar Degas.

A Hunter Stalking a Lion in the Mountains of North Africa, Eugène Delacroix (French, Charenton-Saint-Maurice 1798–1863 Paris), Pastel and charcoal

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