Youthful Hannibal Monumental Bronze Youthful Hannibal Monumental Bronze Youthful Hannibal Monumental Bronze Youthful Hannibal Monumental Bronze Youthful Hannibal Monumental Bronze Youthful Hannibal Monumental Bronze Youthful Hannibal Monumental Bronze Youthful Hannibal Monumental Bronze
Annibal Terrassant l'Aigle, A Monumental Bronze Sculpture Group

Cast from a model by Prosper d'Épinay, circa 1870

Depicting Hannibal as a young boy wrestling with an eagle, inscribed Epinay/Rome, stamped P. D'EPINAY THE YOUTHFUL HANNIBAL and with the foundry mark 'F. BARBEDIENNE Fondeur' on a scagliola porphyry base

50 in (127 cm) height, 37 in (94 cm) base

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Patricia Roux-Foujols, Prosper d'Épinay (1836-1914): Un mauricien à la Cour des Princes, 1996, p.31, pp. 90-91
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This piece was one of the chief works exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1869. As the Royal Academy's President wrote to the Duke of Buccleuch, (who owned the piece in marble), 'When the jury halted before this beautiful production, they could not restrain their applause – an incident without precedent in the history of the Royal Academy'. There are three, perhaps four, examples in bronze; one belonged to the Marquis de Foz and another to the Duke of Westminster. Terracottas remain with the artist's descendants and sketches in plaster and terracotta were also known.

Prosper d'Épinay's bronze shows a boy of youth and a majestic eagle locked in a violent combat. Hannibal and the Eagle was an allegorical subject, representing the struggle between the ancient Carthaginian Empire and its powerful, expanding enemy, Rome. However, the artist based his vision of the subject on a more contemporary source, Gustave Flaubert's Salammbô, published five years earlier in 1862. Flaubert's work dealt with sensational Oriental scenes and immediately became a literary inspiration to artists, mainly sculptors and painters. Salammbô tells of Hamilcar Barca, a Carthaginian general, and his daughter, Salammbô. Hamilcar also has a young son, Hannibal, and d'Epinay based his sculpture on a passage describing the child's brutal prowess:
'Would you believe it, that last moon he surprised an eagle; he dragged it away, and the bird's blood and the child's were scattered in the air in large drops like driven roses. The animal in its fury enwrapped him in the beating of its wings; he strained it against his breast, and as it died his laughter increased, piercing and proud like the clashing of swords.'

D'Épinay's Hannibal staggers back but keeps his grip on the eagle, with his left hand clasping through the feathers and his right hand crushing its throat. The details are skillfully observed, giving movement to the combat, with Hannibal's youthful locks swinging before his ears and the great sweep of the eagle's massive wings. An example of this work can be found in the collection of the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Prosper d'Épinay was born to aristocratic parents who emigrated from France to the island of Mauritius, then governed by England. His strong connection to England is reflected in his consistent participation at the Royal Academy from 1865 to 1881. Although trained and educated in France, Prosper d'Épinay also maintained a studio in Rome (1864-1912), where he became a close friend of Mario Fortuny and Henri Regnault, and helped the young Falguière. His career as a society portraitist was fostered by the Princess of Wales and Czar Alexander III. His female nude La Ceinture Dorée attracted considerable attention when it was exhibited at the Salon of 1874. Other works by d'Épinay are held in the Hermitage Museum, the Musée d'Orsay, and the Musées de Lorraine.

The Ferdinand Barbedienne foundry was founded in Paris in 1838 by Ferdinand Barbedienne and Achille Collas, who was the inventor of a machine that would mechanically reduce statues.  Initially it produced bronze reductions of antique sculptures of Greek and Roman origin.  Its first contract to produce bronzes modelled by a living artist was made in 1843, concerning the works of Francois Rude. Barbedienne actively pursued contracts with the many sculptors of Paris contracting with David D'Angers, Jean-Baptiste Clesinger, and even producing some casts for Antoine Louis Barye as well as others including d'Epinay.  Barbedienne purchased 125 casting models from the late Antoine Louis Barye's sale in 1876. He set about casting and selling editions of these sculptures, devoting an entire catalogue to these works, a highly successful enterprise.

From 1851 Barbedienne's firm received numerous medals at international exhibitions, including medals in three different classes at the International Exhibition of 1862 in London. In 1886 he was awarded the Jean Goujon Gold Medal by Société d'Encouragement pour l'Industrie Nationale.

Ferdinand Barbedienne died on 21 March 1891 and was mourned by many in the world of sculpture. It was said that he strove to the highest quality in his castings. Albert Susse said of him that he was the 'pride of the nation' and that  that he 'carried the splendor of our industry so loftily to all international competitions'. The running of the foundry was taken over by Gustave Leblanc, a nephew, and continued the high standards set by M. Barbedienne.

Other works by Barbedienne can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Musée d'Orsay and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.