Today we celebrate the birthday of Rosa Bonheur, a French female (!) artist born on March 16th (or 22nd?) in 1822. She was arguably the most successful female artist of the 19th century, exhibiting at the Salon in Paris for the first time at the age of 19.
Bonheur not only painted but also sculpted, mostly animals. She subscribed to the Realist school and had her own menagerie of animals, though she would also visit slaughterhouses to study their anatomy. While her work is always anatomically true, it never has any sentimentality - defying any (past or present) pre-conceptions about female artists.
This work, Changing Meadows, made in 1863 is not one of her more famous ones, but it is one that I particularly like. It shows a flat boat, filled with sheep who are being transported across a body of water from one meadow to another one, with a second boat also full of animals in the background.
The scene is very contained: the colors are muted, as is the action. There is no real drama here, .... and yet, there is tension as well, what if the sheep go crazy? It would take only one to cause a panic among the rest of them. The sense of peace and quiet here is deceptive, the stillness an illusion, it could fracture at any moment.
May you find real peace and good drama this Sunday and tread lightly
Image from wikimedia here: http://goo.gl/oronLk
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