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Christophe Fratin
French, 1801–1864
Lion Carrying an Antelope,
ca. 1835–40
Cast bronze
H. 15 in. x W. 6 in. x L. 22 1/2 in.
Metz 680

Fratin was one of the first of the French sculptors, along with Antoine-Louis Barye, to successfully portray animals in bronze. As a boy in Metz, France, Fratin helped his father with his taxidermy business. This early experience greatly enhanced his understanding of animal anatomy. Fratin first studied sculpture under Pioche in Metz, then moved to Paris, where he worked in the studio of painter and sculptor Theodore Gericault. Fratin became a regular exhibitor at the Paris Salon from 1831 to 1842 and from 1850 to 1862, and he won a medal at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851.

Fratin’s dramatic compositions have been called “highly romantic.” Although he understood anatomy, he endeavored to show an animal in its natural environment without the dramatic and sometimes violent treatment found in Barye’s work. He excelled at portraying his subjects in normal activities such as eating, and his ability to depict an animal in full flight or at the exact moment of its capture by a predator was unmatched by any artist before or since his time. 

 
 
 
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