Skip to content

The Best Lions in the History of Art

I went to National Gallery of Art in D.C. Painted by Peter Paul Rubens in 1615, Daniel in the Lions’ Den strikes my eyes as a realistic image of lions’ motion and Daniel’s facial expression. Measuring approximately 88 inches by 130 inches and painted with oil on canvas overwhelms my soul. The theme of Daniel in the Lions’ Den is based on the Biblical story of Daniel. The subject of this painting is Daniel surrounded by hungry and angry lions. Rubens, working with amazing creative energy produces the various motions, the asymmetrical composition, and the dramatic tones color in Daniel in the Lions’ Den.
There are lions activities going on. Daniel in the Lions’ Den enhances the emotional and physical tension, as reflected not only in Daniel’s face and muscles but also in lions’ different actions. Daniel’s eyes look up the sky. He prays and asks God for help. His facial expression is worried. The lions are all in different position and motion. Some are sleeping, some roaring and some just sitting there. Never bites Daniel. They have not hurt Daniel because I was found innocent in his sight.
It displays the asymmetrical composition. The painting is quite full and there is no space. This is because the majority of the space is occupied by the lions. Red blanket symbolizes Hebrew people and suggests the danger of spilled blood. Sometimes, whenever we are under the difficult situation, our points of view focus on the difficult situation. We do not realize and see the opened sky. Lions look down on the ground. Never see the opened sky. Ruben’s use of two different points of view gives me hope and wisdom.
This painting fills the brown tones color. Daniel’s flesh, near white and red blanket, is against the brown tones. In this painting, the element used is tone. We can see the light, medium, and dark shades of colors on the lions’ bodies and faces. This technique of tone also presents on Daniel’s body. We see the dark colors in the background, making the golden color and the pink flesh of Daniel stand out much more.
Daniel in the Lions’ Den reminded me of compositions as well as the depiction of space and movement represented Baroque art.