Several weeks back, reader Johnny Cat suggested Bouguereau's paintings for "˜Feel Art Again.' Adolphe William Bouguereau's "A Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros" seems a good painting for today, Valentine's Day, so let's delve right in.
1. Adolphe William Bouguereau was an artist who managed to achieve great success during his own lifetime. His paintings were popular with American millionaires, who spent large sums of money on obtaining original Bougueraus, and it is said that Edgar Degas and Claude Monet once named him "most likely to be remembered as the greatest 19th-century French painter by the year 2000." He exhibited in the Paris Salons for more than 50 years. However, Bouguereau's success wasn't always such a sure thing: he was the 99th of 100 students accepted to the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1846.
2. Bouguereau received his first drawing lessons at age 13 from Louis Sage, a student of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (previously featured on "˜Feel Art Again').
3. Paying for his education difficult for Bouguereau. While at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, he made ends meet by bookkeeping for a wine merchant and designing labels for jams and preserves.
4. After demonstrators invaded the National Assembly in May 15, Bouguereau enlisted in the National Guard. The following month, he fought in the Revolution (of 1848) alongside fellow artist Isidore Pils.
5. In 1905, Bouguereau's house and studio in Paris were burgled during a string of burglaries in the neighborhood. The burglary is believed to have exacerbated Bouguereau's heart disease, with which he had already been struggling. A few months after the burglary, he succumbed to his heart disease and passed away on August 19.
A larger version of the painting is available here.
"˜Feel Art Again' appears every Tuesday and Thursday.