Petite mendiante

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William Adolphe Bouguereau

1825-1905

French Academic Classical painter, teacher, frescoist and draftsman

Petite mendiante

The little beggar

1880

73.7 x 116.8 cms | 29 x 46 ins
Oil on canvas

"A young child sits on a stone block; her hand outstretched begging for money. Around her neck is a necklace made of simple turquoise beads, a stone that is very commonly found and very inexpensive. She looks at the viewer with desperation and exhaustion, causing a feeling of sadness in the viewer who knows she cannot be helped. Behind her is a breathtaking expanse of jagged rocks and boulders, reflecting the harshness of her life. Bouguereau often depicted the plight of the poor and downtrodden. By bringing to life the despair of those less fortunate he hoped to influence the wealthy and powerful in society to come to their aid. The Little Beggar Maid is a prime example of this type of theme, but there are many others including Little Beggars, Grape Picker, Yvonette, Far from home, and Little Girl Holding Apples in Her Hands."

-- by Kara Ross

"Few others of his era played as great a role in correcting the wrongs of society as did William Bouguereau. He single-handedly used all of his power, fame and influence to change the policies of, first the Academy Julien, and later the Academy Francais to permit for the first time ever, women artists to study and train with the men."

-- by Fred Ross