About the work

Walters Art Museum Object Description

The heat of the noonday sun is palpable in this painting as drooling oxen drag a plough. They are followed by a man whose face is obscured by a hat, which shields him from the bright sun, while birds peck at the furrow left in their wake. Rosa Bonheur was among the most celebrated painters of animals in the 19th century. She frequently depicted plowing scenes that highlighted her command of animal anatomy, which she studied through dissection. This scene reverses the composition of her first work to gain major celebrity: “Ploughing in the Nivernais,” which was exhibited at the Salon and won a medal in 1849. In 1857–58 Rosa Bonheur’s fame and success in the United States was secured ...

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