Caspar Gras (Bad Mergentheim, Germany 1585–1674 Schwaz, Austria)
Roaring Lion, Pouncing
Model dated ca. 1630s, cast before 1674
8 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. (21.6 x 23.7 cm)
One of only four known casts, this bronze was once one of a pair that included a Kicking Horse (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles). It is a rare example of the invention and technical daring that German masters like Gras contributed to the Italian tradition of animal statuettes. Gras boldly depicts the king of beasts poised in mid-leap, attacking the horse from below. In Italy, as well as at the Habsburg court in Innsbruck, where this work was made, the subject of battling animals celebrated the ruler’s exercise of power.