This bronze sculpture depicting a mother lion nursing her cubs was created by French artist Victor Peter (1840–1918). The piece, located east of the sea lion pond at the Prospect Park Wildlife Conservation Center, was a gift from noted sculptor Frederick MacMonnies (1863–1937), who has a dozen pieces in New York’s parks, including two major works in Prospect Park, Horse Tamers (1899) and the bronze depiction of James S.T. Stranahan (1891).
Cast in 1899, Lioness and Cubs is an example of animalier (a sculptor of animals) art popular during the mid- to late 19th century. The naturalistic and sometimes fierce imagery of this type of sculpture is meant to evoke the strength of nature, expanding on 18th century Romanticism, although later animalier works, such as this example, tend to be softer and more playful. Many of Peter’s other animalier works are in France. Prospect Park is home to another famous animalier work, the two Panthers (1898) by Alexander Phimister Proctor (1860–1950) that stand sentinel at the Third Street entrance to the park.
Lioness and Cubs Details
- Location: Prospect Park Zoo
- Sculptor: Victor Peters, (von Pieters)
- Description: Group on integral plinth on pedestal
- Materials: Bronze, pink granite
- Dimensions: Group H: 3' W: 7' D: 2'; Pedestal H: 4' W: 7' D: 2'
- Cast: ca. 1899
- Dedicated: 1899
- Fabricator: Thiebault Freres Fondeurs. Paris, France
- Donor: Frederick W. MacMonnies
- Inscription: 1) sculpture front, proper right: "VTOR PETER"
2) sculpture rear; "THIEBAULT FRERES FONDEURS / PARIS"
3) sculpture rear: "PRESENTED BY FREDERICK MACMONNIES / COPYRIGHT"
4) pedestal: "LIONESS AND CUBS / 1899 / VICTOR PETER, SC"
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