Antoine-Louis Barye was a French sculptor, most famous for his work as an animalier, a sculptor of animals.
He was born 24 September 1796 in Paris and died 25th of june 1875. Barye began as a goldsmith like many sculptors of the Romantic Period and he first worked under his father. Around 1810 he worked under the sculptor Guillaume-Mertin Biennais, who was a goldsmith to Napoleon.
In 1818 he was admitted to the École des Beaux Arts. When he was working for Fauconnier (in 1823) he discovered his true talent from watching the animals in the Jardin des Plantes and made studies of them in pencil drawings and started then modelling them in sculptures.
However Barye wanted to be known as a sculptor of small sculptures and large statues. In 1831 he exhibited much larger statues for the first time; Tiger feeding on a Crocodile was a 41 cm high and 103 cm long plaster sculpture and Lion Crushing a Serpent was 138 cm high and 178 cm long. They were made in bronze. In 1832 Barye had developed a style of his own in the Lion and Snake.
Barye maintained very successful in sculptures on a small scale and represented animals in their most familiar attitudes. Examples of his larger work including the various lions and tigers, you can find in the gardens of the Tuileries. Very famous are the four groups: War, Peace, Strength, and Order (1854)
He was Professor of Drawings at the Museum of Natural History in 1854 and was elected to the Academy of fine arts in 1868. Barye didnot produce new work after 1869.
Despite Barye excelled at sculpture, there was a lack of business knowledge and therefore he often faced financial burdens. In 1848 he was declared bankrupt and all of his work and molds were sold to a foundry. This foundry began making inferior work from 1848-1857 and Barye’s reputation suffered during this period.
Some Famous Barye sculptures:
1831: Tiger devouring a Crocodile
1852: Bronze Jaguar devouring a Hare
1854: War, Peace, Strength, and Order
The huge amount of admirable sculptures left by Barye, entitles him as one of the great animal life sculptors of the French school.
On the eastern tip of Île Saint-Louis in Paris is a public square dedicated to Barye.
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