Here’s a closer look at an old forgotten master.
I came to an awareness of Bouguereau in the San Antonio museum of art. In the 1990’s they had one of Bouguereau’s most famous works on display upstairs in an alcove at the head of the stairway. I walked up the stairs and this painting, called Admiration hit me right between the eyes.
He was a master of figure painting in the late 1800’s. He worked in oils from live models, and may-or-may-not have used optical mirrors to transfer images onto canvas, although that sort of cheating does not account for his mastery of color, shape, composition, and form. In my humble opinion, having tried to do what he has done, he is as great a painter as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and Donatello. His figures are alive. Their skin looks absolutely real. Even the facial expressions suggest that the character is about to speak.
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