Saturday Sculpture: LIONS

Linked to Mind Over Memory who hosts this challenge.

First I offer you a real lion, the BIG DADDY Lion, the original MGM Lion.

By Pacific & Atlantic Photos – eBayfrontnews storyback, Public Domain,

Sorry. I know it isn’t a statue but I couldn’t resist this. I did start off with the bronze statue of the lion from the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas but I thought it paled beside the real thing so there you have it.

Now here are two sculpted Lions. The first one from Lucerne, Switzerland, was described by Mark Twain in his 1880 travelogue “A Tramp Abroad” as “The most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world”. A mortally wounded lion is carved into the wall of a sandstone quarry in the old part of the town, designed as a memorial to mercenary soldiers from central Switzerland who lost their lives defending the royal Tuileries and the family of Louis XVI in Paris in August 1792 during the French Revolution. Six hundred died in their defence and 140 more died afterwards.

The 6m x 10m long monument was designed by the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen and carved by German stonemason Lucas Ahorn out of the sandstone rock in 1820-21.

The Wounded Lion in Old Lucerne, Switzerland

Next we move to Spain, to Cordoba where there are so many statues it is easy to miss this one, but he is part of the Triunfo de San Rafael column, the most elaborate of many devotional columns in Cordoba commemorating the town’s guardian angel. The column at the center of a scenic viewpoint was begun in 1765 and it was finally finished in 1871. He’s quite an ugly old lion but I feel sorry for him as he looks uncared for and few stop to admire him as they gaze upwards at the shiny figure of the saint or rush across the bridge to photograph the more famous Mesquita.

Lion at the base of the Triunfo de San Rafael column in Cordoba, Spain.

10 thoughts on “Saturday Sculpture: LIONS”

  1. Yes, the Lucerne Lion is a contrast with the city that lies all around him, but he somehow seems to fit in with the town. He’s part of the furniture now!


  2. Such sad sculptures and history. I remember seeing the lion in Lucerne and it contrasted with the quiet and serenity of the modern city in the early morning. Such expression in the carvings.


  3. As the Narnia cannon wasn’t part of my childhood I only have warm memories of the friendly lion who introduced all those MGM films I loved as a child. I’m sure the poor thing was de-fanged and sedated before being captured on film.


    1. Yes, I thought the same when I started looking for a sculpture and realized how many I had. One doesn’t have to go to the famous ones even, like Trafalgar Square’s lions or The Court of the Lions in the Alhambra in Granada to find them. There are even two on the gateposts of quite a small house near me!


  4. I love that first photo, Mari! He looks so real! And they, so focused 🙂 🙂 I didn’t think Pathe News but Narnia, as I always do. The second is too unspeakably sad! More Lion King! Another favourite 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jo. I didn’t realize how many lion statues there were until I started looking through my photographs and then I started thinking as well! I think the power resonates with a lot of people.

      Liked by 1 person

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