A bronze sculpture of a partridge with gilt patination by Jules Moigniez, c. 1880
An animalier is an artist, mainly from the 19th century, who specializes in, or is known for, skill in the realistic portrayal of animals. "Animal painter" is the more general term for earlier artists. Although the work may be in any genre or format, the term is most often applied to sculptors and painters.
Animalier as a collective plural noun, or animalier bronzes, is also a term in antiques for small-scale sculptures of animals, of which large numbers were produced, often mass-produced, primarily in 19th-century France and to a lesser extent elsewhere in continental Europe.
Although many earlier examples can be found, animalier sculpture became more popular, and reputable, in early 19th-century Paris with the works of Antoine-Louis Barye (1795–1875), for whom the term was coined, derisively, by critics in 1831, and of Émile-Coriolan Guillemin. By the mid-century, a taste for animal subjects was very widespread among all sections of the middle-classes.