OIL PAINTING: Lion Devouring a Horse, 1763
The young George Stubbs made a journey to Rome in 1754. He was already known as a painter of animals, and his earliest biographer recorded his failure to make the usual studies of classical monuments. But the suggestive power of one antiquity in particular, a pre-Hellenistic sculpture of a horse attacked by a lion in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, moved him to his own depiction of fear in " Lion Devouring a Horse ". For thirty years Stubbs meditated on this theme of conflict, producing at least seventeen works in oil or enamel, clay or mixed-method engraving, adopting an episodic, four-part sequence beginning with the horse's first terrified sight of the lion emerging from its cave and ending - closest to the Antique source - with its exhausted collapse beneath its attacker. The painting shows this last episode.