Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798–1863)
Lithograph, second state of four
12 7/8 x 18 1/2 in. (32.7 x 47 cm)
Bequest of Susan Dwight Bliss, 1966 (67.630.7)
Delacroix had great empathy with the natural world and was fascinated by animals, although he seems never to have encountered untamed ones in the wild, even during his trip to Morocco in 1832. Having to rely upon the resources of the Paris zoo, he began studying felines there in the late 1820s, probably not long before making this lithograph. In this terrible, beautiful picture, Delacroix demonstrated the Romantic penchant for tragedy, torment, and violence in scenes that showed nature "red in tooth and claw" some decades before Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859).