Last Days of LEO - Part III

Let's mark the last day of LEO with this sensational, impressive piece.  It is a beautifully-rendered model of the 1840 "Walking Lion" by French animalier par excellence Antoine-Louis Barye (1795-1875).  Barye, who had little formal education, began his artistic career working for his father, a goldsmith and military engraver.  He later was apprenticed to Napoleon's master goldsmith.  After military service (1812-1814), he found work in a painting studio, followed by work with a sculptor.  From 1818 to 1823, Barye studied at the esteemed École des Beaux Arts.  His public debut as a sculptor occurred at the Paris Salon of 1831—after which he generated many government, religious and private commissions.  When key patrons died, and commissions slowed, Barye began producing limited...

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Last Days of LEO - Part II

The Minoan Civilization—centered on the Mediterranean island of Crete—is considered the first civilization in Europe, which coalesced some 5,000 years ago.  Around 1450 BC, they came under the domination of the Mycenaeans (Ancient Greeks) and a hybrid culture developed.  But the art and society of the Minoans (as can be seen at the Palace of Knossos) was lively, energetic and wonderful.  The island boasts a small but terrific museum. The vase above, made in Art Nouveau Belgium by potter Antoine DuBois, is inspired by ancient ceramics such as those found in Crete.  A Minoan or Greek-inspired lion leaps beneath a band of Greek Key fretwork.  On the reverse, a Greek stylized palm leaf can be found, similar to those found...

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Last Days of LEO - Part I

We're in the last three days of LEO; Virgo is waiting in the wings.  Let's countdown the last days of LEO with an assortment of handsome feline gifts. Shown above, a pair of cast iron bookends with portraits of a regal King of the Jungle.  They were modeled by the talented sculptor Gregory Seymour Allen who was born in New Jersey in 1884 and died in Glendale, California in 1934.  Alas, I can find little biographical information about the artist or his life.  But I can see that he was a talented sculptor, judging by his work on this pair of bookends.

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