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The Lion and Mouse [Bronze]

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Title

The Lion and Mouse [Bronze]

Subject

Animal sculpture--20th century

Description

Fredericks has said that this sculpture illustrates the story of "The Lion and the Mouse." In that story a lion caught a mouse, but as he was about to eat him the mouse pleaded for mercy, promising to help the lion one day. The lion was so amused by the prospect of a tiny mouse helping the king of the jungle that he let the mouse go. Some time later the mouse came across the lion tied up in a hunter's net. The mouse gnawed through the ropes to free him. In a different version of the story, the mouse extracted from the lion's paw a troublesome thorn too tiny for the massive lion's claws to catch. A fitting moral to the story is that kindness is seldom thrown away, be it given to the mightiest or lowliest of creatures. Notice how Fredericks captured the whole story in a single image that contrasts the tiny mouse with the larger lion.

The J. L. Hudson Company commissioned this sculpture for Eastland Shopping Center in Harper Woods. Like many of Fredericks' sculptures, he designed it specifically for children. Both animals are humanized with friendly facial expressions. The lion's reclining position and his crossed legs are very human-like, yet his huge round head is stylized with uniformly coiled ringlets and his knees are abstracted. These alterations of nature make the king of the jungle unthreatening to children and adults alike.

Cast in 1988

Creator

Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998

Date

1988

Rights

Use of this image requires permission from the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum

Type

Sculpture

Coverage

University Center (Mich.)

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Physical Dimensions

54" x 36" x 77"

Materials

Bronze full-scale

Catalog Number

1991.131

Object Location

Sculpture Garden

Notes

Cast in 1988

The lion and the monkey was Marshall's first attempt and he did cast a maquette. But a dear scandinavian lady he knew due to his scandinavian work and who lived locally reminded him that there was a fable that the kids learned in school about the lion and the mouse. So he changed it and won the commission for the Eastland Mall project. She often visited the studio and would tell me this story.
Carl Fredericks from an email dated February 17 2010

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