'This thing we call life': on Bouguereau

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'This thing we call life': on Bouguereau

From McConn

Published before 2005


James Levergood wrote:
[Bouguereau] was a painter for the market only, and nothing more inspired him. He was arguably the greatest technician ever when it comes to the rendering of the human figure, which is the only reason any of us even know his name. There were hundreds like him doing the same subject matter as him but just not to the degree of proficiency as he and their names have mostly all been forgotten.

Hi James,

Nothing more inspired him?

My two cents: Nothing demands more inspiration than the artistic depiction of the human form, but then again, I also believe, as just one example, that a profile image of nothing more than a young girl enveloped in the mystical and mysterious can be the pinnacle of art, irrespective of any nod to the depicted particulars of the era.

How one can conclude that the below are but cold, impassioned renderings of nothing more than a market technocrat is beyond my comprehension:

  • Brian Yoder's GoodArt Gallery: More on Bouguereau

    These images are "life" itself, something the greatest artists never stop searching for. It's funny, but the more I look at Bouguereau , the more I appreciate his grasp of the essentials. He suggests more, with less, "just enough" as it were. Ironic given his images are so utterly convincing. Perhaps this has something to do with his incredible understanding of the underlying forms and not so much with surface facts?

    "I am seventy years of age, and the whole study of my life has been to find out what it is that is in myself; what is this thing we call life , and how does it operate." -- George Inness

    Regards Mike