Hello everyone! This week I will be delving into the style of Naturalism. This movement was dedicated to depicting objects in a realistic way while they reside in a natural setting. This style can coincide with Realism, which is art that depicts object in a truthful manner. Although, Realism tends to contain a political message, while Naturalism has an apolitical message. Naturalistic style compositions were what the art patrons of the 19th century wanted to see.
A woman artist, Rosa Bonheur, created Horse Fair from 1852-1855 in France. This work was done in such a way that it combines elements of both Naturalism and Realism. Bonheur was known for being a Bonapartist animal painter. Horse Fair depicts a horse market that is full of movement and action. The horses are being brought around in a circle, so the customers on the right side of the composition can see which one they want to purchase. The figures within this horse market are not idealized, but can be perceived as the laboring class.
Artist Bonheur created this composition through a variety of sketches. She would have had to get permission from the police to attend a market such as this one. Bonheur would dress up in men’s clothing and create sketches of the horses throughout the market. The horses create movement within the composition, even more so being that it is such a large scale painting. Bonheur would attend this market weekly, creating many sketches studying the untamed nature of the animals. She was able to truly capture the force of the horses as they made their way around the bend.