Adolphe-William Bouguereau 1825-1905 BACK

A W Bouguereau
The Dance
oil on canvas 367x180 cm
Musee d'Orasy

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Upon his return to Paris in early 1854 Bouguereau was awarded valuable commissions in two areas, portraiture and decorative cycles. These opportunities for work came from both Paris and his hometown of La Rochelle. Bouguereau continued to exhibit paintings (some of which had been painted in Rome) at the Salon, where they were received by the public with great favor. Because of his training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and that institution's emphasis on paintings with themes drawn from mythological, classical, and biblical history, the subjects of Bouguereau's early Salon submissions were mostly somber and serious. Titles such as Combat of the Lapiths and Centaurs (1852; private collection) and Le triomphe du inartyre: Le corps de Sainte-Cicile apporti dans les catacombes (The Triumph of the Martyr: The Body of Saint Cecilia Being Carried into the Catacombs) indicate that the young artist aspired to take his place in the tradition of grand history painting.

excerpt from: Bouguereau by Fronia Wissman

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