BLACK MALE LEOPARD Sculpture by ZAAN CLAASSENS

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Male and Female Leopards together as viewed from above
Right side of the Male Leopard

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BLACK MALE LEOPARD

ZAAN CLAASSENS

Canada

Sculpture

Size: 5.5 W x 6.7 H x 9.1 in

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Art Description

Sculpture: Bronze on Bronze.

I am in awe of these beautiful, wild cats. These two sculptures make the perfect pair. Ideally to be cast life size and to adorn a Bernini-like staircase.

They were created in 2011 as a limited edition of only 10.

My sculptures focus on two seemingly disparate subjects, although they are certainly interconnected: the nude female form and large animals. The images may seem antithetical, as nude women are typically presented as icons of gentility or sexuality, and big animals as menacing beasts, but I tend to ignore these entrenched perceptions. Both subjects offer commanding anatomical forms that demonstrate my passion for the natural world and all that inhabit it.

The animals that I depict tend to be large and wild, and detached from domestication. And while small, domesticated animals may garner attention for their “cute factor,” I am drawn to animals, such as the leopard and rhinoceros, which typically occupy their natural habitat in Africa, and whose behavior is therefore unregulated and instinctual. I want to capture their authenticity in my sculptures by depicting these animals as both powerful and vulnerable in a world in which they are both predators and prey. The mid nineteenth-century French animal-painter Rosa Bonheur was the first woman artist to focus on large animals as subject-matter (a pursuit deemed exclusively male); continuing this legacy enables me to connect with her desire to visually capture, but not actually capture, these imposing creatures of the natural world.


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Animal

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