Lion Carrying an Antelope,
H. 15 in. x W. 6 in. x L. 22 1/2 in.
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.