Les Animaliers

The term Animalier was first used by the French press in the early 1830's. Initially it was used as a derogatory label to describe Barye and Fratin and their animal bronzes.  The popular view in early 19th century France about bronze sculpture was that it needed to exemplify man's status among the lesser creatures of the earth.  The Juries of the Salon in early 19th century Paris felt that the only appropriate subject for art in bronze were images of people or copies of the Renaissance bronzes and ancient Greek and Roman themes The Salon was aghast at the common works of animals submitted by Barye and Fratin. Many of Barye's and Fratin's masterpieces were rejected for exhibit by the Jury because, in their opinion, they were not appropriate subject matter for consideration as art. The term Animalier would continue for over a decade to be used as an insult to any and all artists who would use animals as subjects for their art  This perception changed when Louis-Philippe gave several public commissions to Barye.  Soon Paris was to have monumental beasts in bronze in all of its public places. The Dukes of Orleans, Luynes, Montpensier, and Nemours were to soon become Barye's patrons.  By the middle of the century the term Animalier carried an entirely different connotation and any artist was proud to be known as an Animalier.

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