The Birth of Venus 1879
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905) was a French academic painter. William Bouguereau (French pronunciation: [vijɑ̃ buɡəʁo]) was a traditionalist; in his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of Classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body.
Bouguereau was a staunch traditionalist whose realistic genre paintings and mythological themes were modern interpretations of Classical subjects—both pagan and Christian—with a heavy concentration on the female human body. The idealized world of his paintings, and his almost photo-realistic style, brought to life goddesses, nymphs, bathers, shepherdesses, and madonnas in a way that appealed to wealthy art patrons of the era.
Bouguereau employed traditional methods of working up a painting, including detailed pencil studies and oil sketches, and his careful method resulted in a pleasing and accurate rendering of the human form. His painting of skin, hands, and feet was particularly admired. He also used some of the religious and erotic symbolism of the Old Masters, such as the “broken pitcher” which connoted lost innocence. (read more)