William-Adolphe Bouguereau Biography: William-Adolphe Bouguereau was a French Victorian era painter and Traditionalist.
William-Adolphe Bouguereau Biography
He was born on 30th November 1825, in La Rochelle, a coastal city in France. He was tagged the last ‘History Painter’ by the art patrons around the world.
He was born into a wealthy family of wine and olive oil merchants and was expected to take over the family business. At the age of 12, Bouguereau went to stay with his Uncle Eugene.
How was the Early life of William-Adolphe Bouguereau?
His life changed forever after that. His uncle taught him Latin and Greek myths and Old and New Testaments and nature. He was born into a wealthy family of wine and olive oil merchants and was expected to take over the family business.
At the age of 12, Bouguereau went to stay with his Uncle Eugene. His life changed forever after that. His uncle taught him Latin and Greek myths and Old and New Testaments and nature.
Where was William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s Education?
Bouguereau showed an inclination towards art and his uncle nourished it by sending him to a Catholic college at Pons, where he was tutored by Louis Sage in the principles of drawing. It is said that Sage was trained by Ingres, a French Neoclassical painter.
Under Sage’s tutoring, Bouguereau got a solid footing in the basics of drawing. Bouguereau had to discontinue his studies and was made to go back to his family residing at Bordeaux then.
He resumed his studies at the Municipal School of Drawing and Painting. His main source of income was through working as a shop assistant and through designing labels.
William-Adolphe Bouguereau Family
In the early 1840s, Bouguereau’s family wanted him to join the family business, but a client of his father convinced his parents to let him attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux for 2 years.
He gained knowledge about anatomical dissections, historical costumes, and archaeology there. He also learned academic-style painting under François-Édouard Picot.
He won the coveted Prix de Rome in 1850 after trying for 3 consecutive years. He was allowed to stay in Villa Medici in Rome for 3 years, where he continued his formal studies.
He was also granted a golden chance of studying the Renaissance artists and their masterpieces. He learned classical literature and about the various antiquities which influenced his art forever more.
Some of his early works were the Dante and Virgil in Hell. Bouguereau flourished after his stay in Villa Medici.
William-Adolphe Bouguereau Artworks
Though he respected other artworks, he worshipped Greek sculpture Greek sculpture, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, Rubens, and Delacroix.
He was inspired by Raphael so much that he followed the same technique as that of Raphael in most of his works.
He worked on the pavilion of a cousin and undertook other commission jobs to pay off his debts and support his mother.
In 1856, he did commission jobs for Ministry of State for Fine Arts and decoration jobs for a chapel at Saint-Clotilde. He received the Legion d’Honneur on July 12, 1859.
What are the Famous Works of William-Adolphe Bouguereau?
His realistic genre paintings hugely depicted mythological themes, Biblical scenes, and classical subjects while focusing mainly on the female human body.
He always tried to beautify his subjects while retaining their natural features. He used traditional methods like pencil sketches and oil paintings in his works.
His works were famous among the rich art patrons all around the world. He was considered one of the most famous artists of his time.
He was commissioned for decorating the houses of rich patrons. Slowly his work turned from traditional paintings to personal, realistic themes.
Some of his famous works were Bather(a shocking nude), Holy family(sold to Napolean III), The Nymphaeum, The Heart’s Awakening and much more. Most of his works were sold for record-breaking prices.
The Legacy of William-Adolphe Bouguereau
It is said that he had painted more than 1000 paintings, but only 822 seemed to have been tracked. He was considered to be an epitome of success during his time. He was the perfect blend of taste and refinement.
His personal life was turbulent with tragedies, but his art life was a grand success. William – Adolphe Bouguereau died at a ripe age of 79 due to a heart disease at La Rochelle. An artist lives forever through his works describes Bouguereau perfectly.