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Video transcript

we're in the Wallace Collection then we're looking at a resume or this is called sheep and it's on a wall with lots of other paintings but we both noticed how it just really stands out it really does the effect of real light in this landscape is remarkable and you know she was an animal painter but the landscape is also really pretty fabulous and it's a complicated landscape you have rain in a couple of areas and light coming through and what I find so incredibly complex is the way that light plays on the fur of the Sheep as well as the brush and the grass in the foreground it's so complicated it's a sense of minut depth yeah in a way it almost in some ways reminds me of a pre-raphaelite painting and it's attention to detail and actually observing nature instead of a kind of academic formula we look at the paintings of women of the 19th century we so often see domestic scenes but he or she is out in nature and it wasn't easy for her to do that no not at all I mean this is a relatively pastoral scene but nevertheless and her paintings where they do show animals in a much more aggressive way we know that no sovereign Orion obviously wasn't easy for her as a woman to be a professional artist and in fact in order to sort of be out in the fields and painting animals it was much more efficient and comfortable to wear pants but she actually had to petition the driver remember that to wear pants like so many women who became successful artists her family included male artists so that's how she would have learned how to paint because of course women could not just simply go to art school it was accepted for women to dabble in painting they certainly could take private lessons but it was at the level of amateur and Rosa Bonheur has really transcended that and become a professional which was an extremely rare and somewhat provocative do you think to do and she had the support of her family her family was very progressive in that way and really encouraged her and her father was a painter or siblings or painters and her mother encouraged her to draw if I remember correctly she ended up being quite successful financially I think she had a very strong reputation although it was a narrow reputation again as an animal painter you know when you see such a beautiful painting like this by a woman are it's impossible not to think about all the women who didn't have that support of their family who could have become great painters and didn't