Cave Lion

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Cave Lion

Artist: Abdullah Khan

Size: w82″ x h36″ | Acrylic on canvas | 2019

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A young cave lion, male, drawn to scale. These have been extinct for 12,000 years, and I was fascinated by their size and beauty. They were one of the largest species of lion to have ever lived, and because of not only fossils, but also depictions of the cave lions in prehistoric cave paintings, it has been possible to recreate what the animal looked like. Weeks of my research went into studying this animal’s appearance and context to to be able to create this accurate depiction and mannerism of this animal.

Cave lions had rounded, protruding ears, tufted tails, and that at least some had a “ruff” or primitive mane around their neck, indicating males. Their body color possibly varied from a ochre-tinted gray to dark ochre brown on the upper parts of the body, while the rest of the coat was light brown.

Acrylic palette consists of raw umber, burnt umber, naples yellow, with added grey and unbleached titanium for the background, along with various contaminations of others hues. These colours are distributed in a randomised gradient based on the light and shadow on the cave lion. It appears tense, crouching at the entrance to a cave, lit by the sunlight behind.


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