Posted on 06/14/06 by Dianne, Pittsburgh, PA
Bouguereau was, to me, the most skilled painter of all time. His paintings bring me to tears, they are so beautiful. His flesh tones emit life, and it seems that real blood is flowing through the veins of his subjects.
Posted on 06/13/06 by J. Brody, MN
Being a professional artist who paints in oils with the methods of Classical Realism, I feel that W. Bouguereau was one of the greatest masters of all time. His ability to render the human form at its best was unrivaled. He was a master of the canvas whom every classical artists should strive to emulate. I love his work and think it is shameful that the world has taken so long to find him again.
Posted on 06/12/06 by P. Cremer, Brighton, United Kingdom
I think that those who criticize Bouguereau cannot draw or paint as well as he could. The subject matter was popular in the Victorian era, especially where infant mortality was high. He painted lots of children with wings, not out of sentimentality, but to meet an emotional need. I am copying Twilight at present, building up the painting in layers as Bouguereau did, and it is a beautiful process and very satisfying.
Posted on 06/09/06 by H. J. Turner, Jr., Coker, AL
The restoration definately brought out the vibrant colors of Bougeureau's painting. His paintings are both enchanting and breathtaking, with that healthy dose of decadence. I saw a Bouguereau in Mobile, Alabama. His paintings announce themselves in a strong, understated way. A truly great artist.
Posted on 06/08/06 by Dr. R. Hudson, Hancock Park, CA
"The Bouguereau Debate" was a wonderful and stimulating evening due to the presence of the Getty's resident artist-eduactor Peter Zokosky. Mr. Zokosky's charm, enthusiasm, and authority on the subject held the attention of the audience. I've attended many programs at the Getty and I want to thank you for continuing the innovative, yet educational, programs.
Posted on 06/07/06 by R. Norton, Hollywood, CA
I was brought to "The Great Bouguereau Debate" a bit reluctantly but was fascinated and got a lot out of it. Thank you for hosting such a remarkable exchange. The Getty has done some great things recently and I applaud the new direction. Mr. Schaefer was eloquent and fair to both sides. It's refreshing to see such good things at a museum in Los Angeles.
Posted on 06/07/06 by M. Bergmann, Burbank, CA
I have one comment in regard to Patrice Marandel's performance at "The Great Bouguereau Debate"—the only bigger gasbag to go down in flames was the Hindenburg. Oh, the humanity!
Posted on 06/07/06 by James M., Ontario, Canada
I'm so pleased to see this restoration of one among the most beautiful paintings I know. Bravo! I've been a devotee since the 1980s, when I first saw his work in Montreal. While Bouguereau is not my favourite artist, he ranks among the top few, and I'm very pleased to see more galleries showing his work of late.
Posted on 06/06/06 by Eric, Los Angeles, CA
Bouguereau is a magnificent artist and superb draftsman. Regardless of the age he came from, he is an artist of the finest caliber.
Posted on 06/05/06 by Sonia S., Rodeo, CA
Well, some might say that his paintings are what would appear as unreal. To me his paintings are beautiful! It's the emotion, the feeling, the passion that draws me to his work. I have four of his prints in my home on display and love them all.
Posted on 06/03/06 by T. Killeen, Sherman Oaks, CA
Bouguereau's work is the finest work in the entire gallery! I implore the Getty to gather as many of his originals as possible for one giant retrospective!! Thank you for restoring this beautiful work!
Posted on 05/29/06 by S. Hancock, San Diego, CA
I am one who "loves" Bouguereau! His paintings display the mental imagery of mythical beings at this time in European history. His "technical perfection," derided by critics, made the imaginable real. I think Bouguereau fits between Botticelli and Maxfield Parrish!
Posted on 05/28/06 by O. Olsen, England
Bouguereau was, in my mind, one of the true greats. Bouguereau and Rossetti are my main inspiration. One was highly technical, the other virtually self taught, but they both produced a quality of work rarely seen today.
Posted on 05/27/06 by L. Bailey, San Diego, CA
I was charmed by Bouguereau's work without knowing anything about the artist. My first introduction was The Little Shepherdess at the San Diego Museum of Art. When I visited the Hammer Museum and saw The Shelter, I recognized the style and wanted to know more, but I couldn't find any information on him in the bookstore there. The next day, I saw A Young Girl at the Getty, and I was hooked. I couldn't understand why there was no reference to Bouguereau in the standard art history texts, then I found a reference saying that he had been the most popular artist in France in the late 19th century, but he had been vilified by the Impressionists. What a fascinating story. Since then, I ordered a copy of the only book available on him and found some references on the Internet. He has become one of my favorite artists. While he may not be one of the most innovative artists or the most powerful, his work speaks to me on an emotional level that most more famous artists don't!
There is a tender idealism to his work is very appealing and his technical skill is extraordinary.
Posted on 05/27/06 by J. C., West Hills, CA
I very much enjoy the Bouguereau collection. Seeing it now, I recognize the work as some of the art I loved most as a child.
Posted on 05/26/06 by B. Romer, Los Angeles, CA
While Bouguereau, admittedly, has some charm, in the final analysis his work is kitsch. Its failing as fine art is due to its cloying sentimentality. Real art expresses the totality of existence and not a syrupy half-truth populated with depilated nymphs, well-fed peasant tarts, and floating children with bleached-white wings. The enlightened human spirit eventually learns to recognize the false and hungers for the real. It's no accident that the motto of modern authenticity is "keeping it real."
Posted on 05/26/06 by J. Collins, West Covina, CA
Bouguerueau: How refreshing to read that the experts are not sure how he got the effects that he did. There is something left to learn. That's great!
Posted on 05/26/06 by N. Brooks, Georgia
I love his art, but then I have learned to appreciate as many types as I possibly can. Every era, every movement has given us new insights and differing points of view and to embrace all of them is to appreciate each and everyone of them as mankind's greatest achievements. All have value and all have worth, and how you may feel one day about a painting can vary the next because we reflect ourselves through our responses to art.
Posted on 05/25/06 by V. Swanson, Springville, UT
Scott Schaefer and I viewed the paintings together and I was struck by the transcendent beauty of the large and small versions of Bouguereau's Virgin of the Angels. In a turbulent deconstructionist world, where art is meant to challenge our superstructure, Bouguereau reminds us of another paradigm, where art was meant to inspire. Rather than agitate, these paintings actually calm. Bouguereau's greatest sin was that of "not being modern." We live in an age that exalts the new modernist paradigm and Old Master contributions. Since Bouguereau lived on the cusp of the dawning of modernism, he is criticized for not being more "advanced." I feel sorry for the critic who is so shallow that he rejects stunning quality because it doesn't match his preconceptions of what the proper timeline should be. One day while visiting Sotheby's New York, I saw in a back hallway a fine example of a Picasso and a Bouguereau hung side by side. At that moment I was struck with the realization that to reject greatness on the basis of idealogy does nothing but impoverish our spirits. Only the mediocre are always at their best. But when one sees a great Bouguereau, there is nothing like it and all one can say is, "What hath God wrought!" I think the Getty should publish the new Bouguereau catalogue raisonné.
Posted on 05/24/06 by Sonya A., Los Angeles, CA
Bouguereau's work is vapid and soulless because the people in his paintings are too perfect and artificial. Worst of all, his children appear to be nothing more than porcelain dolls. It has been said that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." But as an artist myself, I prefer the beauty of an unflinching and honest portrayal of humanity—warts and all!
Posted on 05/19/06 by P. Lentz, Templeton, CA
Virgin of the Angels lit up the room, it was breathtaking, worth the trip. Don't give it back!
Posted on 05/18/06 by L. Maruelli, Italy
I like him in the same way I like certain Impressionists or the art of other ages. Someone can think that a very realistic way of painting is cold, but I don't think so: the angels' wings are so soft you can touch them, the sleeping child seems real.
Posted on 05/18/06 by F. McCarthy, Pittsburgh, PA
Pure medicine for the human soul, like the first seconds of Les Sylphides.
Posted on 05/12/06 by Graydon P., Amherst, MA
It is unfortunate that the Getty's Web site blurb on Bouguereau still contains every cliché imaginable about 19th-century art. For example, since the avant-garde is now the establishment and brings with it multi-million-dollar prices, it is odd that you should chastise Bouguereau for being financially successful. How can one expensive art be sincere and another not? Rest assured that the history of 19th-century art is a complex affair. To parrot simplistic dichotomies, easily disproved, such as placing Bouguereau against the avant-garde or imagination against daily life, is unnecessary, hackneyed, and spurious. I am sure the public can handle complexity and make up their own minds if proper scholarship were presented. The Getty should know better. This is not a high school art appreciation class.
Posted on 05/11/06 by M. Lepavec, Chicago, IL
Although Bouguereau is not an artist I personally care for, I applaud Scott Schaefer's efforts to put Bouguereau's often maligned work once again on public display. Great art of the past is often dismissed by the guard dogs of culture as fashions change, and it's an enlightened curator who respects the intelligence of the art-viewing public by allowing them to draw their own conclusions.
Posted on 05/11/06 by S. Brooks, Santa Barbara, CA
The true meaning of being a mother—stillness, gentle sweetness, nurturing-protective
how does a man understand this?
Posted on 05/11/06 by L. Fromm, Sedona, AZ
As a painter of over 40 years I can easily appreciate the work of Bouguereau. Those who are in awe of his technique might be disappointed to learn that his smooth paintings are no great feat. Bouguereau's secret is: finely woven oil-primed linen, quality pigments, linseed oil, and a Badger Blender brush.
Posted on 05/11/06 by D. Bankes, Running Springs, CA
When an artist can bring his work to life, and add emotion, passion, understanding, and beauty and bring the same out in the viewers of his paintings, then that is a true artist! No words can envelop the true beauty of his work. I have always loved Bouguereau's paintings, and am always awestruck by the beauty and emotion of his artistry. Thank you to Getty Museum for bringing the works of great artists to the public! How fortunate we are to have the privilege.
Posted on 05/10/06 by Fred Ross, NJ
William Bouguereau is clearly one of history's greatest masters. The very fact that everywhere his paintings are hung they fast become the most popular works in the museum...just as the Getty is seeing happen with Virgin of the Angels. I chair the most popular of Internet Museum's and Art information resource, www.artrenewal.org, with over 61,000 images, most in high resolution, by 5,100 artists (including all the greats). We recieve over 520,000,000 hits per year with more visitors than any museum in America. Bouguereau is the single most visited artist, 150% ahead of number two, Alma-Tadema. Ironically, we've heard that your painting Spring by Tadema was the most popular before the Bouguereau arrived. I have been published a dozen times or more writing on Bouguereau's work and his high importance art historically, leading society, along with the writers and artists of his time to a popularization of Enlghtenment values and concepts. Chief among these were appreciation for human rights, equality, freedom of speech and religion, democracy, etc. Please read my recent keynote address to the Oil Painters of America or the ARC Philosophy, read by over 200,000 people per year. I have helped write the catalog raisonné on William Bouguereau (chief author Damien Bartoli), which is to be published in 2007. Please see that this is shown to Scott Schaefer. Nobody on earth is more qualified to argue in favor of Bouguereau.
Posted on 05/08/06 by Bianca, Sherman Oaks, CA
Bouguereau is my absolute favorite artist. His paintings are incredibly beautiful. There are really no words to describe his work; it just leaves you with a feeling of awe and amazement. Bouguereau was a master painter, and I don't believe anyone can compare. His paintings are so precise they are like photographs. I don't believe he received the acclaim he deserved. The Impressionist artists came in and took over, and Bouguereau's work was forgotten for a long time. Now he has become more popular, and to me will always be the most talented artist of all time.
Posted on 05/08/06 by R. Johnson, North Hollywood, CA
This is a good but small gesture. We need to see MUCH more of Bouguereau and other great traditional 19th-century painters. Just because there are some critics of this era doesn't mean we should ALL be denied the opportunity to see great 19th-century paintings. There are far too many people who love them, including me. We have NO museums to go to in southern California where we can see a large enough collection of them. I feel deprived in that respect. I can only see these paintings on the Art Renewal Web site, and I can't afford to fly to the Dahesh Museum in New York for the time being. Nevertheless, thanks for cleaning and displaying the painting from Forest Lawn. I haven't seen it before in person and I'm looking forward to it.
Posted on 05/05/06 by A.-M. Elder, Malvern, England
I think the paintings are breathtakingly lovely. I'm from California, but am in England at the moment. Feeling homesick, I went to the Getty Web site. I visited the museum recently and fell in love with these paintings.
Posted on 05/05/06 by E. Lopez, San Diego, CA
Regarding Bouguereau's Virgin of the Angels...The term "masterful technician" is certainly an understatement. I have never seen a painting quite like this one. My first visit to this wonderful Museum was on April 30, 2006. I look forward to many future visits.
Posted on 05/05/06 by T. Watson, Ponca City, OK
Excellent execution and presentation for color, composition and concepts-impression. Both aesthetically and psychologically, [he] utiliz[es] the collective unconscious of the species. The clean-up is also magnificent.
Posted on 05/04/06 by E. Pilchard, Studio City, CA
What is seen as wholesome in Bouguereau's paintings is just the fulfillment of the male desire to posses young women. He mass-produced a pornographic fantasy (numbering some 800 paintings) catering to 19th-century taste. The Getty is showcasing the Larry Flint of yesterday. End of issue. Nothing else can be said.
Posted on 05/04/06 by P. Cohen, Pacific Palisades, California
Kudos to Scott Schaefer. Finally a curator who has the courage and vision to challenge the status quo and exhibit an artist who has been blacklisted!
Posted on 05/03/06 by J. Cutler, New York
I have taught art for years, and whenever a young person comes to me and expresses an interest in learning to paint like Bouguereau, I advise them to take a photography course instead. True art is not the mere imitation of nature. Bouguereau could have saved a lot of time and effort by just taking a photo instead of painting. But he knew the rich would pay big money for his shallow confectionaries. Is it only a coincidence that in these times of obscene wealth and greed Bouguereau is once again popular? I think not.
Posted on 05/02/06 by Sovereign, MI
"But the precision of Bouguereau's replicas is unique, and experts are still not sure exactly how he created them."
Would Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau and the ladies of the École de Julian be a good guess? "I would rather be remembered as the best copiest of Bougereau's paintings than as a nobody." –EJG
Posted on 05/01/06 by I. Grouper, North Hollywood, CA
I find Bouguereau's work unchallenging, safe, and predictable. It's the kind of art my mother would like!
Posted on 05/01/06 by J. Ramirez, Dallas, TX
I would give anything to paint like him.
Posted on 04/29/06 by W. Downey, Ontario, Canada
Your site described Bouguereau as a controversial artist of the 19th century, but during the 19th century he was not controversial at all. He is controversial now because, though he is out of vogue with the art establishment and taste-makers, he is as popular as ever with almost everyone else. The controversy is that art academics think that anything ordinary people enjoy can't be real art.
Posted on 04/28/06 by Julie, Lake Forest, CA
I just saw these paintings on Thursday. To say that the large painting Virgin of the Angels is breathtakingly beautiful would not do it justice. I am usually not attracted to this type of artwork. I usually like more Impressionistic pieces, but there is something mesmerizing that drew me in. Maybe it is the serene look on the angels' faces or the state of content the baby is in. There is also a warmth that radiates from the center of the painting that gives you a sense of peace. The contrast of the crimson sleeve against the woman's blue robe is also pleasing to the eye.
Posted on 04/27/06 by R. Lyons, Irvine, CA
I think his paintings are lovely and full of the inspriation and passion instilled by the subject matter.
Posted on 04/27/06 by Patricia
Virgin of the Angels reminded me of a Baroque composition, but Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros was reminiscent of Neoclassical works. At first glance they were impressive, but then they seemed very Hallmark-card-like and clichéed.
Posted on 04/26/06 by M. Mourad, Newport Beach, CA
Bouguereau deeply believed in the nobility of human beings and the possibility of great achievement and true happiness, and these themes radiate in this paintings. Of course this is not modern, because modern artists only portray the worst in human beings. His work is challenging today because the modern world is so pessimistic that many have lost hope in our potential for greatness. The modern concept of "difficulty" is just a cover-up for what is impossible to understand. Unlike Bouguereau, modern artists either do not have a theme or they make no attempt to communicate a unified theme effectively.
Posted on 04/25/06 by M. Peterson, Corona, CA
Bouguereau's technique far surpasses the technique of even the best Impressionists. The moderns depise him for his philosophy because he is an Age of Reason/Enlightenment artist. The modern artists follow Kant, who argued that we cannot perceive reality. The Impressionists made reality increasingly blurred, and the Abstract Expressionists made reality a construct of the mind, independent of the external world. Kant's philosophy, however, is demonstrably false, and there is no reason for painters to display it in their work. Bouguereau was right to snub the Kantian philosophy.
Posted on 04/25/06 by E. Casanova, Newbury Park, CA
I bought two copies in oil of paintings by Bouguereau at different times, and didn't know the artist. He is phenomenal and paints so realistically, I would buy more, but don't have any more space. I have one of a woman holding little babies and seated between two columns, and another of two small children, one holding a stocking. Gorgeous!
Posted on 04/24/06 by L. Weissmann, Torrance, CA
I LOVE Bouguereau's work. The first time I saw anything of his, it was just in a little store, and it was a small print of L'Innocence. It was so beautiful, and I wanted it SO badly, but I was 16, and had about $5 on me, not enough for the $8 print. I almost cried beause I couldn't afford it. Then I found a card with the painting, and it was much less expensive. I had to just buy it and leave. Since then, I've collected what I can, and I can pick him out almost anywhere. He's just great. And this work, being able to see something he actually touched—moving. It's been more than 10 years now since I saw the first one, and he continues to be my absolute favorite. I love the detail. I can't say enough to express how I feel about it.
Posted on 04/24/06 by P. Silverberg, Laguna Woods, CA
I think the paintings are flawless and beautiful! The perfection of the figures, their idealism—and the angels' magnificent wings—are lovely. I look forward to seeing them in person.
Posted on 04/22/06 by B. Remora, Santa Fe, NM
Wake up! There's nothing remotely challenging about this academic hack. It's sentimental pabulum, adored by simpletons, slickly manufactured to prop up a corrupt system. Send it back to the cemetery it came from.
Posted on 04/21/06 by M. Bagdazian, Santa Paula, CA
I love Bouguereau's paintings because of the clarity and the technical perfection. I actually have a print of Virgin of the Angels hanging in my home—that's how much I admire and enjoy it. It's as if I am looking at a photograph and standing right there in the actual place of the subject. His works exhibit much emotion and stir up so many feelings—his depiction of Mary with the infant Jesus being serenaded by the angels evokes such tenderhearted, maternal bliss and peace and calm, a rare commodity in our day and age. This work has such a soothing quality—I think we all long for this effect in our lives, more so at some times than others. Contemplating this work is a meditative act. Thank you for bringing more to light about his work and the heart of the times he lived in. Thank you for bringing this work to the Getty.
Posted on 04/21/06 by K. Anderson, CA
Adolphe-William Bouguereau created imagery from religion and mythology almost with an illustrative purpose, but he carried the genre to a height—which is rare. When one of his paintings was exhibited locally, I was not a fan of the theme (mythology is not among my favorite subjects) but the realism deserved appreciation, especially if one enjoys realism in art, which I do. Thank you for this presentation!
Posted on 04/15/06 by D. Benner, Fullerton, CA
May not have been avante-garde, but who cares? The beauty and mastery are undeniable.
Posted on 04/13/06 by Paul, Albuquerque, NM
Pure and tangible and wholesome in a sometimes very troublesome world. There is clarity here that moves this piece through the centuries without explanation.
Posted on 04/12/06 by P. Villa, San Fernando Valley, CA
To say that Bouguereau's works are not meant to be difficult is disgusting. Bouguereau is one of the most skilled artists in history and his work is beautiful beyond description. I am an artist and I know that Bouguereau was enormously talented and skilled in his art. [J. Paul] Getty loved fine traditional art and disdained modern architecture and art. Modern art is distorted, and much of it is ugly. Remember the Emperor's New Clothes? The world needs to wake up to what this modern art garbage is. I think Virgin of the Angels is one of the finest pieces of art in the world today. I enjoy the Getty and am thankful to the late Mr. Getty for giving his collection to the world to enjoy. He did a great thing.
Posted on 04/10/06 by K. Kanouse, Strathmore
This painter was wonderful with expressions. I was only interested in Impressionism until I saw his paintings at your museum.
Posted on 04/09/06 by V. Brennan, Glendora, CA
I love him. Virgin of the Angels was my Christmas card last year.
Posted on 04/06/06 by Vsa, Van Nuys, CA
Amazing. Who can be a critic of him?! You can't. His painting does what art is supposed to do. Almost nobody was as smooth and polished at creating human skin before him. Maybe Leonardo. And he really understood the reason the masters painted.
Posted on 04/01/06 by C. Cormany, Wildomar, CA
Thank you for bringing any work by Bouguereau to the Getty! He has been my favorite artist ever since my mother's statuary shop had the Forest Lawn pictorial souvenir with the Virgin of the Angels painting on its cover. She always said, "If work makes mankind noble, it's art. If it doesn't, it isn't. It's pretty, thought-provoking, or amusing, but it's not art. This man was an ARTIST!" I wish she'd lived to see it again.
Posted on 03/30/06 by J. Deck, Philadelphia, PA
Not challenging?? I challenge any modern artist to move the soul like Virgin of the Angels does. I challenge any modern artist to portray the intent of their subjects' soul as he did. I challenge any modern artist to even ATTEMPT to paint nature with the attention to detail and the craftsmanship that our world deserves, or even to become adept at anything for that matter. Nothing about our MODERN world is beautiful or worth calling sacred. We consume, destroy, and disrespect all that our creator has bestowed upon us, and that is why art is in such dire straits. The world was a much more sincerely beautiful place 100 years ago, and the same goes for our art.
Posted on 03/30/06 by J. Cornell, San Benito, TX
The "girl" looks like she has implants but needs to spend some time on a treadmill.
Posted on 03/28/06 by C. Snelson, Santa Clarita, CA
Wow. I was drawn into this painting. I felt at peace and could not remove my eyes from the screen. It is simply beautiful. I can't wait to see it in person.
Posted on 03/28/06 by L. Adams, Highland, CA
I have the poster of A Young Girl Defending Herself against Eros. I would lie in bed at night and just stare at the craftsmanship. It truly astounds me that these are paintings, not photos. The talent and passion of an artist who can PAINT so divinely that it seems real amazes me.
Posted on 03/28/06 by N. Legault, Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada
This is the most beautiful painting I have ever seen in my life.
Posted on 03/27/06 by Dr. M. T. Tompkins, Florida and California
I am a teacher and professional painter and have studied art in both the U.S. and Europe. I have always admired Bouguereau's outrageous style, artistic mastery, and work ethic. And I am envious of his financial success. I have learned a lot by studying his paintings. I am so grateful that the Getty and other museums show his work, regardless of the contemporary art theory brainwashing that is so often pressed upon our university art students.
Posted on 03/26/06 by C. Hains, Culver City, CA
I LOVE Bouguereau. Why should art be "difficult?" His skill in communicating hair, draping material, feathers with such clarity. Not to mention purity, innocence, and hope. Beautiful!
Posted on 03/26/06 by L. Jaramillo, Oxnard, CA
Makes me feel like I'm watching the actual event. SOOOOOOO REALISTIC!
Posted on 03/24/06 by A. Soto, San Pedro, CA
Simply beautiful and thought provoking…A sense of beauty you don't see in our would today.
Posted on 03/23/06 by Guylaine, Vancouver, Canada
I saw an exhibition of Bouguereau's work at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal in the 1980s and was completely taken by the beauty of his work, the large scale of his paintings, and the a-m-a-z-i-n-g details they contained! For example, the skin of his subjects is so real, one could actually see veins, lines, and such details that some people might think trivial, but others would argue give life to his paintings. And the actual end product is so captivating that I was left with much admiration for his work. To this day, whenever I visit the Musée, I always go see Crown of Flowers, which is part of their collection, and each and every single time, I am left breathless. More than ever, I believe what my design mentor used to say: "God lives in the details." Indeed.
Posted on on 03/20/06 by R. Klassen, Irving, TX
I appreciated the mastery shown by Bouguereau in the works displayed. The subject matter is undoubtedly romantic and unrealistic,
but beautiful to my eyes. I also enjoy Impressionist works, and in a world-class museum there is room for all.
Posted on on 03/20/06 by Jon, Utah
I loved the painting Virgin of the Angels. It was the first painting that I saw at the Getty Center, and it seemed to jump off the canvas at me. Thank you for the opportunity to view it.
Posted on on 03/15/06 by John, London, England
It is easy to criticise these paintings, but one must admire their faultless drawing and sheer glossy production. They make Cézanne look like a sorry amateur.
Posted on 03/04/06 by Susan, Avon, CT
My family and I thought that Virgin of the Angels was one of the most magnetic paintings in the museum—the contrast between light and dark draws you from across the room for a close-up look. That's when you notice its perfection: the brush strokes are indetectable, the details so clear and palpable it has the effect of a photograph. The subject is sentimental, yet not sappy; the loveliest lullabies ask angels to watch over our children as they sleep.
Posted on 03/04/06 by Lorraine, Menlo Park, CA
I absolutely love Bouguereau. I fell in love with his paintings as a child. The women's faces are so real and beautiful and tell such a story. How can anyone dislike these works of art? I may be biased because of my love for Roman and Greek mythology, so I enjoy his references to Eros and so on, but I also like his "ordinary" works, like those of young peasant girls. The faces are beautiful and timeless.
Posted on 02/26/06 by M. Robinette, Lompoc, CA
When I walked into the gallery, my breath was taken away by the striking colors of blue and white in the painting. The painting seemed three-dimensional and seemed to be glowing with life. Thank you for a wonderful, life-changing experience!
Posted on 02/24/06 by Nancy, Rowland Heights, CA
The painting of Virgin of Angels is so beautiful that it actually brought tears to my eyes.
Posted on 02/24/06 by K. Matlusky, Wilmington, DE
Bouguereau is the greatest artist of all time. Forget Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Leonardo, and the rest. If I were an artist I would want to paint exactly like Bouguereau.
Posted on 02/22/06 by B. Pitsch, Thousand Oaks, CA
It was so beautiful and clear. I couldn't pull myself away from this piece. A real treasure!
Posted on 02/21/06 by B. Apthorp, Brentwood, CA
My reaction to this online discussion is mostly embarrassment—but not because of Bougereau or the form of art he practiced. The curators apparently feel compelled to qualify their exhibition of this work (even though they already have a Bouguereau in their own permanent collection), to point out that some people may dislike this stuff.
Annoyed as I am, I will weigh in on this unfortunate "debate," as others have. I do not personally relate to the religious character of this example (unless beauty and tenderness itself can be regarded a sort of spiritual pursuit) and I respect, and in some cases, love a wide range of art, including card-carrying "Modernist" 20th-century and contemporary work, but traditional or "classical" ideas of beauty or emotion are not erased by "modern" ones, or at least ought not be. I would argue that they are deep in us; even, in large measure, instinctive—and the idea that they could be made invalid because other beautiful, potent, and expressive aesthetics arise as well over time, is, frankly, both stupid and grotesquely elitist.
It seems self-evident that there is validity in every stage in the history of art, because each emphasizes aspects of human experience which never fade from relevance, no matter how out of fashion the themes become in the fashions of the "art world."
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