1860 Reinhardt Humorous View of Lion Escape

Der Löwe kommt! Humoreske von Reinhardt. - Main View

1860 Reinhardt Humorous View of Lion Escape


Satirizing mass hysteria.


Der Löwe kommt! Humoreske von Reinhardt.
  1860 (undated)     17 x 23 in (43.18 x 58.42 cm)


A comical scene of utter pandemonium, this is Carl August Reinhardt's c. 1860 print 'Der Löwe kommt!' Reinhardt, who was a sharp humorist and satirist, is ridiculing the mass panic and mob mentality that accompanies unseen but widely believed threats.
A Closer Look
The view depicts a scene at a town fair or carnival, which includes the usual rowdiness, fantastical attractions, and snack foods (in this case 'Dutch waffles'). A lion has broken loose in one of the tents, sending the audience and performers alike running in terror, even far from the tent holding the lion. Even figures resembling police or soldiers are trying to get away as quickly as possible. In contrast, onlookers sitting on nearby roofs or inside buildings look on with a combination of amusement and annoyance. Similarly, a figure in a wheelchair at bottom-center, and his dog nearby, are calm despite the chaos going on around them. This is thought to be Reinhardt himself, who suffered from physical ailments confining him to a wheelchair (and who was also very fond of dogs). The artist also inserts himself at left, where people storm into the shop 'Photografie von Reinhardt' to seek safety, smashing the windows and cameras in the process.

The scene is thought to be loosely based on several incidents in the early 19th century where animals escaped from confinement during fairs, carnivals, and circuses. But Reinhardt, a consummate satirist, is making a point about mass hysteria and groupthink. The lion is never actually seen, but word of mouth and the simple phrase 'the lion is coming!' has sent people stampeding over each other in a desperate search for safety.
Publication History and Census
This view was drawn by Carl August Reinhardt, printed by Breitkopf and Härtel, and published by Georg Wigand, all based in Leipzig. It is undated but generally considered to be a product of the 1850s or 1860s. The view is rare in institutional collections, only being listed among the holdings of the Wellcome Collection in London.


Carl August Reinhardt (April 25, 1818 - August 11, 1877), also as Karl, was a writer, painter, illustrator, and caricaturist. During a rather tumultuous youth filled with periods of wandering, Reinhardt studied painting in Leipzig, Dresden, and Munich, with established painters including Johan Christian Clausen Dahl and Albert Zimmermann. Early in his career, he traveled frequently, finding work where he could, ranging from landscape paintings to caricatures for major periodicals, including Kladderadatsch, Die Gartenlaube, and the Illustrirte Zeitung in Leipzig. He also drew plates for works of fiction. His 'picture sheets' (Bilderbogen) are considered to be an important forerunner to comics. More by this mapmaker...

Georg Wigand (February 13, 1808 - February 9, 1858) was a publisher and bookseller based in Leipzig. He founded the Verlag Georg Wigand in 1834 and in 1856 opened an antiquarian bookshop with Albrecht Kirchhoff (1827 - 1902). After Georg's death, his brother Otto (1795 - 1870) took over operations and the business came to be known as Verlag Otto Wigand. It developed a reputation for publishing controversial works, including the first edition of Marx's Das Kapital and Engels' Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England. After the 1848 revolutions, Otto became involved in politics, serving as a city councilor and member of the Saxony Landtag. In 1864, Otto retired and handed over the business to his son Carl Hugo. The firm survived under Otto's name into the early 20th century. Learn More...

Breitkopf und Härtel (1719 - present) is a long-established German printer and publishing house based in Leipzig. Although publishing in a range of fields, the firm is particularly known for publishing music and is known as the world's oldest music publishing house. The firm was founded by Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf (1695 - 1777), who married the daughter of an old but struggling print shop owner. Bernhard rescued the business, giving it his name in the process, and passed it on to his son, Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf (1719 - 1794). After Johann's death, the business was taken over by Gottfried Christoph Härtel (1763 - 1827), who added his name to Breitkopf. The firm developed a niche in the music world, publishing scores by composers and the esteemed journal Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung. Among others, Breitkopf und Härtel published works by Beethoven, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Wagner, and Brahms. For much of the 19th century, they also manufactured pianos which were highly regarded. Remarkably, the firm survived the upheavals of 20th century German history, relocating to Wiesbaden after World War II as Leipzig fell within East Germany. Even more remarkably, the company's archive mostly survived as well and is now considered a very valuable resource for the history of Western classical music. Learn More...


Good. Some staining at borders. Minor tears upper left corner.


OCLC 927500725.