View Full Version : What does Bougereau look like in person?
01-20-2010, 05:23 PM
So in addition to Hieronemous Bosch and Goya I might have found a third favorite artist: Bougereau (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bougereau). The only fault I have with him is a lot of times his lighting of faces is unnatural, often creating a supernatural looking glow even when in a decidedly mundane scene. While sometimes this adds to the mystery and surreality, it comes across as heavy handed when he uses it so much, and when it applies to only half the face as it often does, is a genuine flaw of composition to my eyes even if it is strictly realistic (i.e. it would look almost as bad if it were a photograph.)
So, has anyone seen paintings by Bougereau in person, and if so, is the glow of their faces made more tolerable in person? I know that the only Bosch painting I have seen in person, Death and the Miser, while it doesn't look significantly different in person it does allow one to appreciate in much more detail its intracacies than a web photo or even a small printed picture.
01-21-2010, 01:52 AM
I went to a museum in Seattle as part of a field trip in high school (for my IB ToK class) and we had to find a piece that spoke to us and describe the work and deconstruct it.
I chose this (http://www.goodart.org/wbcamba.jpg). I found it luminescent and a little ethereal but not to the point of distraction or annoyance. I later gave my friend a book on angels (she was very into that at the time) and came across Bouguereau's Cupidon (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/Cupidon.jpg) and fell in love with it.
I bought Fronia Wissman's book and until I read it I had no idea that the two works were by the same artist. I have since bought a couple of poster prints of several of his paintings. By and large the larger reproductions look a lot better than the small images you can find. I had a good copy of Cupidon which got left behind in a move and a substantially worse copy so even with reproductions/posters there is a variation in quality.
I don't find the lighting to be too problematical in print (see e.g. the Wissman book). A few of his works seem to be lit strongly to one side and that adds a little harshness to "The Elder Sister", "La Tricoteuse (1869) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/The_Knitting_Woman_painting_by_William-Adolphe_Bouguereau.jpg)", and "Homer and His Guide" (which is more of an overhead light).
01-21-2010, 04:34 PM
This site (http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/bouguereau_adolphe_william.html) might help you locate any works that could be near you.
Bougereau's one of my favorites, and I'd agree with Dancer_Flight's words - 'luminescent' and 'ethereal'. I'd also say his use of this lighting is to make the scenes decidedly not mundane.
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