LOT N° : 8

BAS-RELIEF FIGURANT UN LION DÉVORANT UN CERF

Description

Art byzantin, fin Xe-début Xie siècle
Marbre
60 x 44,5 x 6 cm

Ce panneau de marbre rectangulaire, encadré, probablement réalisé
à partir de spolia (remplois de matériaux), représente un lion dévorant
un cerf sur un fond agrémenté de motifs floraux. Le lion attaque le
cerf par derrière, enfonçant ses griffes profondément dans son cou
et son dos. Le grand corps du lion est vu de profil.
Les scènes de chasse et de combat d’animaux et en particulier cette
composition – figurent parmi les répertoires représentatifs les plus récurrents de ce que l’on appelle le « style animalier eurasien ».
Les figures de ce style sont élaborées principalement de manière stylisée. Les premiers exemples du style animal eurasien remontent au XIIe siècle av. J.-C. ils ont été trouvés en Asie centrale. Après que les Turcs se soient convertis à l’islam et se soient déplacés vers l’Ouest de l’Asie centrale à partir du VIIIe siècle ap. J.-C., le style se répand, influençant les artistes autour de la Méditerranée. Plus particulièrement, les artistes seldjoukides qui ont intégré le style dans leur propre répertoire artistique.
Deux exemples byzantins sont d’une importance particulière, car
ils ressemblent fortement à la composition actuelle. La première
se trouve à l’église de la Petite Métropole d’Athènes, construite à
l’époque byzantine, probablement au XIIe ou XIIIe siècle. Il s’agit d’un
panneau, dérivé de la spolia byzantine, représentant un lion attaquant
un animal en pointillés, vraisemblablement un cerf, qui ressemble de
très près au marbre actuel, tant dans sa composition que dans les
détails formels spécifiques de l’exécution des animaux. Un deuxième
exemple est une plaque de marbre byzantine exposée au Musée byzantin et chrétien d’Athènes, datant de la fin du Xe ou du début du
Xie siècle ap. J.-C.. Il est presque identique à la composition actuelle
en marbre, montrant un lion attaquant un cerf
.
Bibliographie
-Andé Grabar, Sculptures Byzantines du Moyen Age II (Xie – XIVe siécle),Paris, 1976.
-Willy Hartner and Richard Ettinghausen, “The Conquering Lion, the
Life Cycle of a Symbol”, Oriens, V. 17, Leiden 1964 : 161–171.
Bente Kiilerich, “Making sense of the spolia in the little Metropolis in
Athens”, in Estratto dalla rivista Arte Medievale, nuova serie anno IV,
2005 : 95–114.
-Olga Palagia, “The date and Iconography of the Calendar Frieze on
the Little Metropolis, Athens,” Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, V.123, Berlin, (2008) : 215–237.

RELIEF OF A LION DEVOURING A DEER
Byzantine, rectangular marble slab
Late 10th to early 11th century
60 x 44,5 x 6 cm
This rectangular, framed marble panel, probably produced from spolia,
depicts a lion devouring a deer on a background embellished with
floral motifs. The lion attacks the deer from behind, while sinking his
claws deep into its neck and back. The large body of the lion is seen in
profile. From in-between his hind legs, his long tail rises up like a flower
along his body. His mane, executed in a manner typical of Byzantine
art, is braided around the animal’s forehead and back. The lion’s face
with its narrow front, large eyes, and human-like long nose is turned
towards the viewer. The young deer is portrayed as it succumbs under
the lion’s weight. With its head turned back, its open mouth exhales
one final breath as it points towards the heavens. Its hairs are roughly
suggested by the use of numerous short strokes, whereas its muscles
are represented by simple outlines. Its kneeling legs are pictured in
parallel with the ground. Animal fight scenes as such and this specific
composition in particular, form representative and recurring motifs of
what is referred to as the ‘Eurasian animal style’.
Compositions with one or more animals figures, depicted while
hunting or attacking, constitute the lion share of works in ‘the
Eurasian Animal Style’. Figures executed in this style usually appear
to be stylized with exciting and fast movements in a vigorous and
dynamic manner, sometimes coalescing with each other. The earliest
examples of the Eurasian Animal Style date back to the 12th century
BCE and were found in Central Asia. After the Turks converted to
Islam and moved west from Central Asia from the 8th century A.D
onwards, the style expanded along with them and so eventually influenced artists around the Mediterranean. Most notably the Seljuk
artists integrated the style into their own artistic repertory.
Two Byzantine examples are of particular importance, since they
strongly resemble the present composition. The first can be found
at the Little Metropolis Church of Athens, built in Byzantine times,
probably in the 12th or 13th century. It’s a panel, derived from Byzantine spolia, depicting a lion attacking a dotted animal, presumably
a deer, which very closely resembles the present marble, both in its
composition as well as in the specific formal details of the execution
of the animals. A second example is a Byzantine marble plate
exhibited at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens, dating
to the late 10th or early 11tth century A.D. It is almost identical to the
present marble composition, showing a lion attacking a deer, with
braids plaited around the back and forehead, and facial and bodily
details, all almost identical to those of our marble.

References
Andé Grabar, Sculptures Byzantines du Moyen Age II
(Xie – XIVe siécle), Paris, 1976.
Willy Hartner and Richard Ettinghausen, “The Conquering Lion,
the Life Cycle of a Symbol”, Oriens, V. 17, Leiden 1964: 161–171.
Bente Kiilerich, “Making sense of the spolia in the little Metropolis
in Athens”, in Estratto dalla rivista Arte Medievale, nuova serie anno
IV, 2005: 95–114.*Olga Palagia, “The date and Iconography of
the Calendar Frieze on the Little Metropolis,Athens,” Jahrbuch des
Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, V.123, Berlin, (2008): 215–237.

Estimation : 20 000 / 30 000 €
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