William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Besides painting realistic genre paintings, William-adolphe Bouguereau was also an academic painter. He used mythological themes and modernized classical subjects. His works include a variety of themes, including women’s bodies.

William-adolphe Bouguereau


During William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s career, he achieved great success and recognition. His work was greatly admired by the rich and famous. His work was featured on greeting cards, posters, and calendars during his lifetime. He also had a significant influence on other artists, such as Michelangelo. He was considered a cultural art hero.

Bouguereau was born on November 30, 1825, in La Rochelle, France. His parents were wine merchants. His father encouraged his son to pursue an artistic career. He attended morning classes at the school where he studied drawing. The professor of the school, Louis Sage, instilled a love of classical works in him.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau became a painter and moved to Paris when he was twenty. He had to work in order to support his family. He was employed in a number of different jobs to keep the family afloat. He financed his education by making hand-colored lithographs for food products. He was able to save enough money to attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He graduated in 1851 and won the Prix de Rome when he was twenty-six.

While in Rome, Bouguereau studied churches and art collections. He also worked with artist Francois-Edouard Picot. In 1854, when his scholarship ended, he returned to his native town of La Rochelle. His paintings were commissioned for the music pavilion in the garden of the Monlun banking family in La Rochelle.

In 1856, Bouguereau met 19-year-old model Nelly Monchablon. They married after a two-decade engagement. During their marriage, they had five children. They lived together for ten years. Their daughter Elizabeth Jane Gardner became Bouguereau’s pupil.

In 1876, Bouguereau was elected President of the ‘Academy of the Beaux-Arts.’ He was made Commander of the Legion of Honour in 1885. In addition to his academic accomplishments, he was influential in the development of a new generation of Neoclassical painters. He was a strong advocate of women’s rights in the art world. He also supported female student artists at the ‘Academy Julian’.

Although Bouguereau was successful, his career was plagued by many hardships. He was the victim of a number of accidents. He lost his mother and four of his children during his lifetime.

Influences on French art

During the early nineteenth century, William-Adolphe Bouguereau was one of the leading figures in French art. His work influenced many artists, including Rembrandt and Michelangelo. He specialized in a style of painting known as the French Academic, which was influenced by Italian Renaissance painters. His paintings were characterized by silky textures and the ability to convey the beauty of a sitter. During his career, he painted over eight hundred works, and he is considered to be one of the greatest French academic painters.

Bouguereau’s paintings portrayed biblical scenes and biblical women. He also portrayed mythological and literary scenes. He was renowned for his ability to master contouring. He believed that good artists recognize the interdependence of line and colour. He was also a strong advocate for the rights of women.

During his life, he was subject to a number of attacks. His works were often compared to classical artistic greats, but his rivals perceived him as a skilled technician who was obsessed with the past. In the 1890s, he admitted that his later style of painting was in response to the demands of his American audience.

Bouguereau was a part of a number of innovative art movements during the 1890s. He was attacked for his “desecrating classical realism.” He was also the target of a campaign by the Avant-Garde, who accused him of pandering to the tastes of his buyers. These attacks are some of the most egregious examples of targeted bias in the history of art.

Bouguereau’s work was displayed in the walnut-paneled sitting rooms of Victorian robber barons. His paintings were also sold at bargain-basement prices. It is estimated that 75% of his known works are masterpieces. His idylls were criticized for their frivolousness.

In the early nineteenth century, Paris was the center of the Western art world. It was home to the prestigious Academie des Beaux-Arts, where artists and patrons connected. The academy sponsored exhibitions and influenced public taste.

During the early nineteenth century, the art world was divided into two distinct camps: idealists and romantics, who promoted human rights and celebrated the beauty of nature. The French Academic fought to reconcile the line of Classicism with the color of Romanticism.

Influences on his work

Despite his success in France, Bouguereau’s influence spread beyond the country. His work was bought by American millionaires. In 1974, the New York Cultural Center staged an exhibition of his paintings. This show attracted large audiences and critical acclaim.

As early as the 1850s, Bouguereau began to draw inspiration from a religiously-based aesthetic. He studied the works of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bernini. He was also deeply affected by the works of John Ruskin. He also studied classical literature and churches.

When Bouguereau was twenty, he enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. During his studies, he travelled to Rome and made studies of the churches and architecture of the city. He spent three years in Italy, refining his technical skills and his artistic sensibilities. He then returned to Paris in 1855.

In Rome, Bouguereau studied the paintings of the Old Masters, and he was also exposed to classical literature and sculpture. He developed an idealized world of shepherdesses, bathers, and goddesses. He created genre scenes of this idealized world. These scenes depicted female nudes and Madonnas. He also painted religious subjects such as the Virgin of Angels.

Bouguereau’s most famous painting, the Birth of Venus (1879), was the first to win the Prix de Rome. In this painting, a grieving angel holds the limp arm of Christ. Its black robe leads the viewer’s eyes in a circular visual path clockwise.

Bouguereau remained active in artists’ societies throughout Europe and Spain during this period. He was also accepted to the Municipal School of Painting and Drawing in Bordeaux. His works were displayed at the Universal Exhibition in 1855. This exhibition, which was attended by over one million people each year, was a major success for him.

When the French revolution occurred in 1848, Bouguereau enlisted in the National Guard. He later reenlisted in the National Guard at the end of the Franco-Prussian War. He died in 1905. He was a prolific artist, creating over 700 paintings. He was known for his classical artistry, which attracted a large audience in France and abroad. His work was often considered controversial, but it was also highly successful.

Posthumous demise

During his life, William-Adolphe Bouguereau was one of the most acclaimed artists of his era. His career was defined by his exposure to the Paris Salon. His work attracted a middle-class audience as well as the art-buying bourgeoisie. However, his reputation faltered after his death in 1905.

The Neoclassical style that he exhibited at the Salon was not accepted by many of the famous artists of the generation after him. In the early 1900s, the advent of Impressionism reshaped the landscape of art. The popularity of Impressionism partly explains the posthumous demise of William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

Bouguereau was born in La Rochelle, France, on November 30, 1825. He was the son of a modest wine merchant. In his early childhood, he studied painting sporadically. He moved to Bordeaux in his teenage years. In 1842, he began studying under Francois-Edouard Picot. He also worked under Louis Sage in Pons.

In the 1850s, he was influenced by Neoclassical painter Nicolas Poussin. He then traveled to Rome to study churches and art collections. During his time in Rome, he also spent three years focusing on his technical skills. He later returned to his home town of La Rochelle.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau received several awards and accolades during his career. He was knighted in 1859. He also was awarded the Grand Prix de Rome in 1850. In 1885, he was appointed Commander of the Legion of Honor. He was also a prominent teacher. He taught Matisse, who later became famous for his works.

Bouguereau was a deeply religious man. He was raised as a Catholic, but his parents were forced to compromise. He also had to face the deaths of his first two children: Georges, a teenager, and Adolphe-Paul, an infant. In 1876, his wife, Nelly, died.

In the late 1850s, Bouguereau had a relationship with a young woman named Nelly Monchablon. After a two-decade engagement, he married her. They had four children. In 1866, Bouguereau became engaged to another woman, Elizabeth Jane Gardner.

While his personal life was plagued by numerous family members dying, he was an apolitical and respected figure in his profession. He made important contributions to the integration of women into art courses. He also designed jam and preserve labels for extra money.