La Vierge aux Anges

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William Adolphe Bouguereau

1825-1905

French Academic Classical painter, teacher, frescoist and draftsman

La Vierge aux Anges

The Virgin with Angels

1881

213.4 x 152.4 cms | 84 x 60 ins
Oil on canvas

Museum at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park

Glendale | United States

Vierge Aux Anges, Song of Angels, 1881, hangs at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, CA, USA. It became re-appreciated from an exhibition at the Getty Museum, where the full size masterpiece was hung next to the reduction. The precision of the perfect copy, also one hundred percent by Bouguereau, and the overall power of both pieces, became one of the most popular exhibitions the Getty had ever had. The serene Mary and baby Jesus sleep, surrounded by nature, as three angels play them a lullaby. All the figures are painted with beautiful, ethereal, perfection. When Bouguereau painted a series of angels, he usually used the same figure multiple times. In the Pieta, 1876, the eight angels are only two different individuals, and in Regina Angelorum, 1900, all twenty-one angels are the same girl. Song of Angels is no different. Bouguereau strived for perfection and would often use the hands of one model, the eyes of another, hair from yet a third, etc. In his religious works and his depictions of the holy, he took extra care in finding a compelling human image that could capture the divine, and once he found what he wanted, he did not stray. I believe this was also a statement on the nature of the divine; that a holy presence may feel as powerful as the souls of many, but in truth, it is one power. The three angels in Vierge Aux Anges are also a foreshadowing of the nature of the holy trinity, and are representative of the father, the son and the holy ghost. The mother and child sleep in peace unaware of the suffering that is destined to follow.
-by Kara Lysandra Ross

Excerpt from the article: William Bouguereau and his Religious Works