Wednesday, January 26, 2011

ABC Wednesday - B is for Bouguereau

B is for Bouguereau (Adolphe-William)

(November 30, 1825 - August 19, 1905) was a French academic painter. Bouguereau was a staunch traditionalist whose realistic genre paintings and mythological themes were modern interpretations of Classical subjects with a heavy emphasis on the female human body.

Although he created an idealized world, his almost photo-realistic style was popular with rich art patrons. He was very famous in his time but today his subject matter and technique receive relatively little attention compared to the popularity of the Impressionists.




Self-Portrait


"Each day I go to my studio full of joy; in the evening when obliged to stop because of darkness I can scarcely wait for the morning to come... if I cannot give myself to my dear painting I am miserable."







In painting, I am an idealist. I see only the In painting, Ikkkk am an idealist. I see only the beautiful in art and, for me, art is the beautiful.  Why I

"One shouldn't believe in all those so-called innovations. There is only one nature and only one way to see it. Nowadays, they want to succeed too fast, this is how they go about inventing new aesthetics, pointillism, pipisme! All this is just to make noise."  ~ Adolfe-William Bouguereau


"In painting, I am an idealist. I see only the beautiful in art and, for me, art is the beautiful. Why reproduce what is ugly in nature?"


Note:  one of the reasons I am so fond of this painting is because it hangs at one of my favorite museums, The Clarke, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It is a huge canvas that dwarfs everything else in the room, not only because of its size but also its beauty. I don't usually go for idealized depictions of beauty but this Bougeureau in particular, is an exception.



"First one has to love nature with all ones heart and soul, and be able to study and admire it for hours on end. Everything is in nature. A plant, a leaf, a blade of grass, should be the subjects of infinite and fruitful meditations; for the artist, a cloud floating in the sky has form, and the form affords him joy, helps him think."



"One is born an artist. The artist is a man endowed with a special nature, with a particular feeling for seeing form and color spontaneously, as a whole, in perfect harmony. If one lacks that feeling, one is not an artist and will never become an artist; and it is a waste of time to entertain the possibility."







 Sources

10 comments:

  1. I've been to the Clark, but it's been years. Thanks for the intro to the artist that means so much to you.
    On behalf of the ABC Wednesday team, wel­come, and thanks for par­tic­i­pating! — ROG

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  2. Oh my goodness, some talent is just so overwhelming... Each of these paintings are masterpieces. Thanks for the opportunity to see such magnificent work.

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  3. I love your banner painting. I knew it was a French Academician, but I did not remember which. I like a lot of their work - Gerome, Couture, Cabanel...

    Either in the Raleigh museum or the museum in Richmond I have admired his "Young Girl Defending Herself against Eros - 1880" (it's on the first page of the Complete Works link you kindly included at the end of your post). It's a little smaller than life size, and has more presence than any other painting in that room of the museum - quite fetching, and the emotion and expression on the girl's face is perfect. Like the expressions on the faces of the nymphs in your banner painting...

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  4. I must say I agree with his philosophy about painting the real and I'm very glad that's what he did. I love the impressionists and the pointellists and so many more but someone with his ability to capture the essential beauty of his subjects must be deeply admired.

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  5. these paintings are so rich, I could stare at them for hours. I feel as though I'm back in art history class in college. he gave his female subjects such haunting eyes. thanks for posting these beauties. oh man, what a feast for my eyes. I've been itching for an art outing to the Milwaukee museum, and this seals the deal. I have unlimited access as a member and I don't take advantage of it often enough throughout the year. thanks for lighting the fire under my arse :)

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  6. Love these pictures, will go to see the Clark Museum next time when we go back to MA.

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  7. His work feels much older to me, I would have expected him to be a contemporary of Rembrandt and the other Dutch masters. Love it, though, with the perfect never-been-in-the sun skin. I can't believe Bouguereau isn't a household name.

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  8. I enjoyed this post.Interestingly, on reading the quotes, Bouguereau speaks of beauty, of form, colour, idealism ... but I see in his work that he captures the essence of each person he portrays - in the eyes. Incredible.

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  9. I've never seen a Bouguereau that didn't blow me away. His women are without exception heart-stoppingly beautiful and at the same time imbued with a sense of playfulness. I'd love to see more of them in person, but until then, this look is much appreciated.

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  10. Thanks for sharing. I saw a blog post comparing Bouguereau's 'Birth of Venus' with Boticelli and Dali. Would be cool to see more thorough piece on that......

    ReplyDelete

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