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William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1825–1905

The Young Shepherdess
1885
Size: 62 in. x 28 1/2 in. (157.5 cm x 72.4 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin S. Larsen, 1968:82
Trained at the Royal Academy in Paris, Bouguereau became one of the most prolific and successful exhibitors at the Parisian Salon in the later 19th century. Like Realist painters including Courbet or Millet, he shared a passion for subjects drawn from rural life. Bouguereau’s rural figures, however, are always closer to the idealized shepherds and shepherdesses of classical pastoral poetry than to the earthy farmers more often depicted by the Realists.

Moreover, during the decades when the Realists and Impressionists developed their bold anti-academic styles, Bouguereau remained the principal proponent of traditional painting, and his works are characterized by the superbly drawn anatomy and high degree of finish seen here.

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