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Barbaro after the Hunt

c. 1858
Marie-Rosalie Bonheur (also called Rosa Bonheur) (French, 1822–1899)

With soulful eyes, Barbaro dries off after a bath. Rosa Bonheur’s sensitivity to canine emotions (as well as her understanding of their anatomy) stands out here as she ably conveys the hunting dog’s desire to be free of his chain. Barbaro was one of several animals that Bonheur owned and painted at the Château de By, her home near the forest of Fontainebleau. The large size of the canvas and the prominent placement of the dog’s name on the wall lend this work the gravity and dignity of a portrait.

One of the most famous female painters of her day, Bonheur cut her hair short and obtained a special license from local police to wear trousers, a practice that was illegal for women at that time. These sartorial choices aided her work with animals and suited her belief in gender equality and her desire to break free of convention.

Object Details

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