Rosa Bonheur was born at Bordeaux, France, the daughter of a painter. Her father was her first teacher in art.
At an early age, when most children draw in an aimless way, her father guided his little girl’s efforts with his own experienced hand. He taught her to study and sketch from nature instead of relying on copies.
As a child she cared nothing for dolls and toys, but loved animals dearly. Is it any wonder, then, that she took them for her subject when she began to paint?
In her childhood she had two dogs and a goat for pets, and later on kept a sheep in her Parisian apartment. Still later, when she had become a distinguished woman, her studio included a farmyard.
Her animal paintings are so real and life-like that a study of the faces of all the horses in that wonderful picture, “The Horse Fair,” will reveal distinctly different expressions in each face.
Although most simple in her personal habits and in her life, Rosa Bonheur was the greatest woman artist that ever lived.
“The Horse Fair,” Rosa Bonheur’s most famous painting, was bought by an American gentleman and presented by him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York.
ALEXANDER AND THE ROBBER
Alexander—What! art thou that Thracian robber, of whose exploits I have heard so much?
Robber—I am a Thracian, and a soldier.
Alexander—A soldier!—a thief, a plunderer, an assassin, the pest of the country; but I must detest and punish thy crimes.
Robber—What have I done of which you can complain?
Alexander—Hast thou not set at defiance my authority, violated the public peace and passed thy life in injuring the persons and properties of thy fellow-subjects?
Robber—Alexander, I am your captive. I must hear what you please to say, and endure what you please to inflict. But my soul is unconquered; and if I reply at all to your reproaches, I will reply like a free man.
Alexander—Speak freely. Far be it from me to take advantage of my power, to silence those with whom I deign to converse.
Robber—I must, then, answer your question by another. How have you passed your life?
Alexander—Like a hero. Ask Fame, and she will tell you. Among the brave, the bravest; among sovereigns, the noblest; among conquerors, the mightiest.
Robber—And does not Fame speak of me too? Was there ever a bolder captain of a more valiant band? Was there ever—but I scorn to boast. You yourself know that I have not been easily subdued.
Alexander—Still, what are you but a robber,—a base, dishonest robber?
Robber—And what is a conqueror? Have not you too gone about the earth like an evil genius, plundering, killing without law, without justice, merely to gratify your thirst for dominion? What I have done in a single province with a hundred followers, you have done to whole nations with a hundred thousand. What; then, is the difference, but that you were born a king, and I a private man; you have been able to become a mightier robber than I.