In 1816, he entered the workshop of the Sculptor Bosio, then in 1823 at Fauconnier, goldsmith of the Duchess of Angoulême; he already models small animal figurines. He then studied living nature at the Jardin des Plantes, observed the attitude and movement of animals and even frequented the anatomy amphitheatre.
Breaking away from the long tradition of Western sculpture, which most often saw the animal as merely an accessory, a decorative motif or at best a form of allegory, Antoine-Louis Barye became interested in the animals themselves, carefully studying their anatomy, seeking to grasp them, both in their movements and in their attitudes of rest.
Antoine-Louis Barye escapes the servitude of studying animal anatomy and treats his models with a great simplification of means and independence from tradition.
It was Antoine-Louis Barye's willingness to sculpturally treat the animal for its own dramatic value that earned him violent criticism. Antoine-Louis Barye's style remains unique and this form of romanticism will no longer be found in animal art.
Little appreciated by the official circles, Antoine-Louis Barye stopped exhibiting at the Salon after 1837. But rich amateurs, such as the Duke of Orleans, were interested in his art, so little academic, and the bronze edition of his small-sized works ensured its success with a large audience, despite many setbacks and setbacks.