A century ago, the educational opportunities for women in the field of art were very limited. Art was evidently in the blood of Rosa Bonheur.
The French artist began sketching with a pencil and paper long before she was able to talk. Through the support and guidance from her father who was an artist of portraits and landscapes, Bonheur was one of the most prominent female artists during the nineteenth century.
Her breathtakingly realistic paintings of lions, horses, and other animals earned the world’s attention throughout her lifetime. To celebrate her contribution to art and to a career that influenced many female artists in the years to follow, Google dedicated its Doodle on Wednesday to the artist in celebration of her birthday, which was 200 years ago.
The girl was born in Bordeaux, France, on 16 March 1822, Bonheur struggled at school. Her initial struggles were with reading and writing but were able to master the art through the guidance of her mother who requested that she draw an animal in the middle of each letter of the alphabet. She was often disruptive and rebellious, resulting in frequent expulsions from the school.
After failing to complete an apprenticeship as a seamstress around 12 years old the father of Bonheur began teaching her about painting and art. Through the passion for animals instilled into her from a young age from her maternal grandmother, she began studying domestic animals in the fields and pastures all around Paris while copying art in the Louvre museum.
She made her mark in 1849 when she painted Ploughing within the Nivernais painting, which was an oil on canvas that depicts oxen plowing across the land, which is now in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. The most well-known artwork was The Horse Fair, an epic painting that was completed in 1855. It measures 8 feet tall with a width of 16 feet.
A decade later, Bonheur received his Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor by Empress Eugenie for the first time that the award had been given to women artists.
Bonheur passed away in 1899 aged 77. She was buried alongside her long-time friend Nathalie Micas at Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
Rosa Bonheur is a French painter and sculptor and Famous for the remarkable accuracy and detail of her pictures featuring animals.
Following her success, during her participation in the 1848 Salon (awarded the gold medal) her work was selected by the French government to paint a huge painting that would honor the custom of plowing fields through the use of animals.
Rosa Bonheur was born on 16 March 1822