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Crane, Python and Lizard
Italian, Roman

A lizard grasps at a shrub and tries to scare off a crane, which has trapped its tail under a clawed foot. A snake twisted around a vine above joins in, its long red tongue visible as it hisses at the bird.

This is one of only two mosaics in the National Gallery’s collection as we no longer collect this type of work. It was once thought to be by a Greek artist working in the Hellenistic period (323–31 BC) but is now recognised as an eighteenth-century imitation of an ancient Roman image.

Key facts
Artist Italian, Roman
Full title Crane, Python and Lizard
Date made probably 18th century
Medium and support Mosaic
Dimensions 23.5 x 29.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Lt.-Col. J.H. Ollney, 1836
Inventory number NG2980
Location in Gallery Not on display
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