August 23rd, 2014
William Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825 – 1905)
Jeune Fille et Enfant (Girl with a Child), 1877
Oil on canvas
I don’t often post on figurative art of this era, but this piece commanded my attention when I was browsing my sources this morning. Bouguereau was apparently a very in-demand portraitist and figure painter in his time, and I can see why. It’s not the technique, which he has in spades. What’s more striking to me are the emotions at play, both direct & subtle: the watchful child with his big dark soulful eyes, the child’s relaxed right hand in contrast to his wary gaze; the way the mother is clutching the child to herself; her limpid, slightly sorrowful, spellbinding eyes; her mouth on the verge of any number of emotions. I can’t take my eyes off this painting. I feel cleansed beholding it.