Inscribed, on base, right side: F. LEIGHTON. 1877/XXIII; on base, back: PUBD BY ERNEST BROWN PHILLIPS / AT THE LEICESTER GALLERIES, LEICESTER SQUARE, LONDON
This unusual subject, inspired by the monumental ancient marble group of the Laocoon, provided the artist with an opportunity to display his command of male human anatomy and musculature. The confrontation between man and beast—a staple of much 19th-century sculpture—is conceived in the round, so that the composition changes dramatically as the viewer circles the work. This is a reduced version of a life-size bronze Leighton exhibited to great acclaim at the Royal Academy, London, in 1877.
Although he executed numerous bronzes, Leighton was primarily a painter. Victorian audiences admired his literary and Classical subjects and portraits, often idealistic and sentimental yet rendered in a hyper-realistic style, as continuing the great tradition of European Renaissance art.
From the 2019 exhibition Emulating Antiquity: Nineteenth-Century European Sculpture, curated by Katherine W. Hart, Senior Curator of Collections and Barbara C. & Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming
ARTH 48.07, Michaelangelo's Modernism, Allan Doyle, Spring 2019
Constructing Gender: Works from the Hood Museum of Art's Collection, 1500 to the Present, Harrington Gallery Teaching Exhibition, ARTH 2, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 28-April 22, 2012.
Emulating Antiquity: Nineteenth-century European Sculpture, Engles Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-February 16, 2020.
Introduction to the History of Art II, 1500 to present, Harrington Gallery Teaching Exhibition, ArtH2, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 24-March 14, 2004.
Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 15, 2008.
Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 6, 1995-May 18, 1997.
Roger Arvid Anderson, The Roger Arvid Anderson Collection, Medals, Medallions, Plaquettes and Small Reliefs, Paintings, Sculpture, Works on Paper and Textiles, San Francisco: Roger Arvid Anderson (published privately), design by David L. Wilson, 2015, p. 280-281.
The Fine Arts Society, London, England; sold to Roger Arvid Anderson, San Francisco, 1994; lent to present collection,1994; sold to present collection, 2016.
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