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Artistic space #131 - Neo-classical art by William Adolphe Bouguereau


5 months ago4 min read

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Neo-classical art by William Adolphe Bouguereau

Returning to art publications, today I bring you a post dedicated to the life of a French painter who ventured into neoclassical art and creator of the avant-garde of that time in the genre mentioned. Perhaps one of his main influences in the pictorial art that he developed is religion. I am talking about William Adolphe Bouguereau. Come with me to learn more about the life and work of this incredible artist.


Born in France in the city of La Rochelle in 1825, in a Catholic family, and with few resources. Although the family origins had little to do with art since his main family activity was dedicated to the marketing of some items of the area where they lived as oil, and artisanal wines. Thanks to a priest uncle who had a great influence on the family are who begins to talk with the little William Adolphe Bouguereau, especially orienting him towards art and nature in general, the talks lasted hours long enough to arouse curiosity to learn more about art.


At the age of 17, he begins his journey through the art world. His uncle at the age of 8 would teach him to draw being very outstanding in his school.


William Adolphe Bouguereau was a French painter, avant-garde in the development of the neoclassical style and the application of academic norms in the pictorial composition. Although his conviction to study and dedicate himself to painting was not to the total liking of his family since they encouraged him to follow the path of modest commerce to which the family nucleus was dedicated. So he decides to move to Paris to continue his path in art, where he managed to start painting and become known among the artistic community in his first year in the French capital managed to sell an approximate 33 paintings.


In addition, at the age of 25, his paintings had crossed the borders of France and managed to position themselves in other European art markets as well as in the United States. Being his first great achievement the merit that he received in the form of prize that was given to him in the city of Rome, after this achievement he moves to Villa Medici cradle of the art in Europe where he manages to be recognized by consecrated painters of the time. Being skillful and intelligent enough he managed to enter both political and religious circles, he got to know Napoleon Bonaparte who would commission him one of his most famous portraits.


He never forgot his origins and despite the opposition of the family to study art, years later he was welcomed as a victorious member.
His main subject matter developed in the paintings is part of Roman and Greek mythology that is considered classical art from there the name of the movement that almost becomes founder, neoclassical movement that gathers the best of classical art as human anatomy, where the clear influence of costumbrist painters converge on each painting in a splendid way.


It is characterized by having a style very attached to academism, something very common at the time as it was the passport to be accepted by all circles of fine arts and especially by the main curators and buyers the bourgeoisie.
In his artistic work are counted about 1000 works that are perfectly achieved with the techniques mastered at the time. Perhaps this is the negative point of the artist who refused to allow other painters to use techniques other than those imposed by the monarchy, the church, and the bourgeoisie. Being an art complacent of the wealthy minorities and stripping of any naturalness or social context that includes the lowest capable of the population. There was no progressive idea that would destroy just by not following the official art.


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