Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fernando Jin - William-Adolphe Bouguereau

William-Adolphe Bouguereau

I chose the French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau because I was deeply captured by his extremely and realistic style of painting. Usually I will find realistic paintings not that beautiful, but Bouguereau’s paintings perfectly combine these two characters. I especially like those kids painted by him. Those kids’ pureness and smile can be really fascinating.

Source: Bouguereau, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Self Portrait, 1879.

Short Biography

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905) was born in La Rochelle, the Atlantic coast of France, into a merchant family of olive oil. He was supposed to join the family business but similar to Wolfgang A. Mozart’s early display of extreme talent in music, Bouguereau demonstrated his unusual ability to draw at a very young age. Thanks to the help of his uncle Eugene, who played a very important role in Bouguereau’s life, that is, to teach the first drawing lessons and arranged for Bouguereau to go to high school, Bouguereau’s father was convinced by a client to send him to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, where his talent stood out by winning first prize in a competition with an fabulous depiction of Saint Roch. After achieving early success, Bouguereau’s works were in great need among American millionaires who considered him the most important French artist of that time.  However, after 1920, Bouguereau fell into disrepute, partly because of the public’s changing tastes and partly his stubborn objection to the avant-garde artists who were gradually gaining acceptance. For several decades, his name was seldom mentioned in the world.

Style and techniques

He is a traditional Academic painter, who largely drew on religious and mythological themes and subjects with a strong emphasis of woman body. In his time, Bouguereau was both appreciated and criticized. He was considered to be one of the greatest painters in the world by the Academic community, while in the same time, strongly despised by those avant-garde painters.

Selected Works

Source: Bouguereau, William-Adolphe, The Bohemian, 1890

This is one of my favorite paintings. It is very realistic and beautiful.

Source: Bouguereau, William-Adolphe, Bather, 1870

An exemplification of Bouguereau's expertise on depicting female body.

Source: Bouguereau, William-Adolphe, The Virgin with Angels, 1881

Religious stories are a major theme of Bouguereau's paintings. Different from early paintings, Bouguereau's religious paintings are more realistic and appealing.

Source: Bouguereau, William-Adolphe, Sketch for Night, 1881

An exemplification of Bouguereau's Academician skills and focus on female body.


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