Monday, August 25, 2008

William-Adolphe Bouguereau

In explaining the influences for his recent painting, Venus, artist
Michael Newberry
lists among them the 1879 painting Birth of Venus by
William-Adolphe Bouguereau. One of the last and best loved of the figurative painters of the 19th Century, Bougereau's work came to languish in the popular consciousness as Impressionism and then Abstract Impressionism came to the fore.

According to Wikipedia:

Bouguereau’s works were eagerly bought by American millionaires who considered him the most important French artist of that time. But after 1920, Bouguereau fell into disrepute, due in part to changing tastes and partly to his staunch opposition to the Impressionists who were finally gaining acceptance. For decades following, his name was not even mentioned in encyclopedias.

But now, with his return to favor, at least with the public, and with such wonderful resources as Wikipedia itself, we can come to know this great artist with an ease of which neither the Victorians nor the Caesars could have dreamt, at our laptops, in our basements. To view images of his entire oeuvre, visit Wikipedia here. And this is one of my favorites, A Young Girl defending Herself Against Eros:

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