Portrait of the artist Antoine-Louis Barye

Antoine-Louis Barye


At the Paris Salon of 1831, Bayre caused a sensation with his sculpture "Tiger Devouring a Gavial Crocodile". He was the first to introduce such dramatic and veristic scenes into 19th-century sculpture, which were only similar to the art of Eugène Delacroix. Barye no longer saw the animal as the allegorical bearer of meaning but showed it in its various genres and their peculiarities.

Extensive studies in the Jardin de Plantes and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris enabled him to produce precise representations of nature. In doing so, he took the sculpture out of academic classicism and contributed to its departure into the modern age.

The son of a goldsmith was born in Paris on 24th September 1795 and received his first training from his father. This was followed by an apprenticeship as a steel engraver, which was perfected by admission to the studios of the sculptor Bosio and the painter Gros. In 1818, Barye was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts. When the Salon of 1837 rejected him, he and a partner founded an arts and crafts firm where the models for the Parisian bronzes that had become world-famous were created.

Although he received state commissions from influential patrons, his art did not receive general recognition until after 1848. He became a professor of zoological drawing at the National Museum of Natural History in 1854 and a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1868.

But, Antoine-Louis Bayre also created special works of art as a painter and graphic artist, especially with his landscape watercolours. He died in Paris on 25th June 1875 and is now one of the 19th-century artists who liberated art from its historical, mythological and literary shackles.