This black and white print depicts a male lion attacking the body of a horse near a rocky cave. Only the front portion of the horse is shown, lying on its side on the ground. The lion crouches above the horse and presses down with its front paws, claws extended, as it sinks its teeth into the horse's neck. There is a fierce, wild eyed expression on the lion's face. The scene is set in an undefined rocky landscape.
Delacroix traveled to North Africa in 1832, visiting Morocco and Algeria--a visit that fueled his interest in non-European cultures. The interest in exotic locales fascinated Europeans and coincided with the rise of tourism; painters (many of whom never left Europe) depicted distant places and different cultural settings, including harems. For the sophisticated and urbane Delacroix, the unleashed ferocity of wild animals--particularly the big cats--stirred his imagination. Scenes such as this of a lion attacking a horse figured frequently in Delacroix's art.
Verso of paper on which the object has been mounted, inscribed in black ink, u.l.: 65.5; in graphite, u.c.: 5; in typing on white sticker, l.l.: 1965.5/DELVAUX, Paul/Mermaid/WORK ON PAPER/17 5/8 x 21 1/4 in. (overall); 8 3/4 x 12 1/4 in.; in black ballpoint pen, l.r.: 22 [encircled]
Letters, in margin, l.l.: Dujaric, del, et sc. ; l.c.: PONT DE VALVINS (Seine et Marne) ; l.r.: A. Cadart, Edit. Imp. Paris. ; u.r.: 252 Inscribed in plate, u.l.: Valvins Aout 73 Watermark, u.l.: Ar[ches]