I have always said the day I leave this earth, there will be a lion on my easel, and Enthronement of a King is a painting that I thought might be my last. It tested me in every way—physically, emotionally and creatively. It is a work I had wanted to do for nearly 15 years. Watching wild lions over the last several decades has stirred within me an overwhelming fascination and wonder.

How can we be living in this modern world and still share it with giant, free-roaming cats? They are magnificent in every way, and there is no doubt I was put on this earth to tell their story—the raw, truthful and unfiltered side.

The power of lions forever draws me near. They are neither cruel nor compassionate, express neither joy or sorrow. Lions know who and what they are and never apologize for it. Lions simply are the King of Beasts.

The Nevada Museum of Art has organized an exhibition titled King of Beasts: A Study of the African Lion, featuring paintings by esteemed wildlife painter John Banovich, alongside historical artworks dating from the 15th through 20th centuries by internationally renowned artists such as Delacroix, Dürer, Friese, Kuhnert, Rembrandt and Stubbs, all focused on depicting the extraordinary African Lion. An internationally recognized artist who has studied lions for decades, Banovich has created a body of work that is also an homage to these animals. King of Beasts features more than forty artworks as well as three-dimensional displays that explore questions about mankind’s deep fear, love, and admiration for these creatures. The exhibition spans nearly twenty-five years of work and assembles his body of work focused on African Lions for the very first time.

King of Beasts will travel from the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada to the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas.