Rosa Bonheur was born on March 16, 1822. Her parents were followers of a movement that favored the education of girls alongside boys. Rosa's father was a painter and her mother taught piano. Rosa was taught to paint by her father and by the age of 14 she was making copies of paintings in the Louvre; this was a traditional way of study for artists over the centuries. Before setting out on her path as an artist and sculptor she copied the works of many artists she admired including Nicolas Poussin and Peter Paul Rubens.
Today Rosa Bonheur is regarded as an 'animalière,' an artist whose primary vision is the representation of animal forms in paintings and sculpture. Critics of her work complain that she did nothing to expand the boundaries of art; essayists seem more interested in her non-conformist clothing than in her painting.
I see in her work a a traditional and sensitive understanding of the intertwined lives of animals and humans; she represented animals as she saw them in the surrounding countryside. her work is skillfully executed and approaches an understanding of the animals themselves. Her representation of beauty lives on in the twenty-first century.