Repose or The British Lion, 1899
Géza Vastagh (1866 -1919)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 02169
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum


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Repose or The British Lion (and Lioness)

This painting was originally owned by Pears Soap Ltd and produced as a print for their customers to purchase.The company added the painting’s second title to appeal to the patriotism of the popular market. The overtly sentimental representation of a lion and lioness is typical of the artist’s paintings of similar subjects.

Vastagh’s careful study of lions in zoos and in northern Africa enabled him to render details of pose, facial expression and fur texture with a realistic, broad-stroked technique. He had an intimate understanding of the anatomy and nature of these majestic animals. The brushstrokes for the facial features of the lion are short and delicate, while Vastagh treats the fur in a more, rough manner, mixing colours in harder contrasts.

Géza Vastagh was a Hungarian artist and was best known as a painter of exotic animals, especially lions. The son of artist György Vastagh, following early schooling in Hungary, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, and made his debut at the annual exhibition there in 1883, at the age of 17. He subsequently lived in Budapest, but also travelled through Africa, the Middle East, Europe and spent some time in England.


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