French artist Antoine-Loius Barye was a sculptor of animals, or animaliér. The infamous sculptor Auguste Rodin once described Barye as “the master of masters who clug to nature with the force and tenacity of a god.”
With a humble beginning, Barye began his career as a goldsmith. But it was during this time in the military that Barye realized he wanted to be an artist. During his service, Barye worked with engineers and learned how to draw. He worked under sculptor Francoise Joseph Bosio and painter Baron Antoine-Jean Gros before becoming an apprentice to Jacque Henri Fauconnier.
After receiving a commission, Barye studied zoology and anatomy at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. He created a unique style of sculpture, capturing not just physical detail of the animal, but also its character and the struggle to survive. Most of his work depicts a life-and-death battle, capturing dramatic confrontations, often brutal in nature. Dissatisfied with the styles of sculpture imposed upon him, Barye developed a style all his own.
Photography by Kevin Miyazaki.