William-Adolphe Bouguereau (Born 30 November 1825, Died 19 August 1905) was a French academic painter. In his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body. During his life he enjoyed significant popularity in France and the United States, was given numerous official honors, and received top prices for his work. As the quintessential salon painter of his generation, he was reviled by the Impressionist avant-garde. By the early twentieth century, Bouguereau and his art fell out of favor with the public, due in part to changing tastes.
In the mid-to-late 20th century, a revival of interest in figure painting and advocacy by admirers such as Salvador Dalí led to a rediscovery of Bouguereau and his work. Throughout the course of his life, Bouguereau executed 822 known finished paintings, although the whereabouts of many are still unknown.
- The Birth of Venus
- Dante and Virgil in Hell
- Nymphs and Satyr
- Psyche and Cupid
- The Return of Spring
Tropes found in Bouguereau's work:
- It's Not Porn, It's Art: He is known almost exclusively for his nude paintings which were overwhelmingly comprised of women.
- Love Goddess: Discounting his depictions of Venus, one of the more famous series of paintings he did was a series based on the story of Cupid And Psyche.
- Older Is Better: Bouguereau was an Academic artist, using the old techniques and attention to detail that the Classicists revolutionized during The Renaissance. He rejected the incoming popularity of Impressionism, stating that the Impressionists lacked discipline and patience."As for the Impressionists, the Pointillists, etc., I cannot discuss them. I do not see the way they see, or claim to see."
- Putto: Like other Neoclassicists, he has made a few pieces featuring putti, including The Birth of Venus, Charity, The Charity, Study for Charity, Charity or The Indigent Family, Young Woman Contemplating Two Embracing Children, The Innocent, etc.
- Reclining Venus: With most of his known portfolio being comprised of female nudes, he has made a few that fit this description, including The Wave, The First Mourning, L'Océanide/Ocean Nymph and Biblis.
- Shout-Out: To the "New Sacristy" sculptures found the Medici Chapels. Bouguereau retakes Michelangelo's idea of depicting the dawn, day, dusk, and night as Anthropomorphic Personifications. Although, this time it's a series of paintings and all of them are women.