Wlliam-Adolphe Bouguereau, (born Nov. 30, 1825, La Rochelle, Fr. - died Aug. 19, 1905, La Rochelle), French painter, a dominant figure in his nation’s Academic painting during the second half of the 19th century.
Bouguereau entered the École des Beaux-Arts in 1846 and was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1850. Upon his return to France from four years’ study in Italy, he attracted a wide following with his mythological and allegorical paintings, although his portrait paintings are perhaps held in higher esteem today.
His work was characterized by a highly finished, technically impeccable realism and a sentimental interpretation of his subject matter. Bouguereau received many honours in the 1860s and ’70s as his career progressed; he exhibited regularly at the Salon for several decades and became for a time the most famous French painter of his day. As a proponent of official orthodoxy in painting, he played a major role in the exclusion of the works of the Impressionists and other experimental painters from the Salon.
In his later years he decorated the chapels of several Parisian churches and painted religious compositions in a Pre-Raphaelite style. He exerted a wide influence, not only in France but in other countries, particularly the United States. In 1876 he was made a member of the Academy of Fine Arts.
Modern critics tend to assess Bouguereau as a painter who sacrificed boldness of technique and originality of outlook for a highly polished but conventional treatment of the human form. |© Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
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Bouguereau, William-Adolphe - Pittore Francese, nato a La Rochelle il 30 novembre 1825. Sentendosi fortemente ȧttratto dalla pittura, si recò a Parigi nel 1846 nonostante le difficoltà poste dalla sua famiglia, ed entrò nello studio del Picot alla scuola delle belle arti, insieme col Cabanel e con lo Henner. Nel 1850 ottenne il primo gran premio per Roma. In Italia si esercitò a copiare gli antichi e soprattutto Raffaello; tornato a Parigi nel 1854, partecipò all'esposizione universale dell'anno seguente, eseguì importanti decorazioni in palazzi privati della capitale francese e di La Rochelle. Dal 1866-1885 compì pitture decorative per le chiese di S. Agostino, S. Clotilde e S. Vincenzo de' Paoli a Parigi, per il teatro di Bordeaux, per la cattedrale di La Rochelle. Si trovano alcune sue tele nei musei di Anversa, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Digione, La Rochelle, Mulhouse. Colmato di ricompense e d'onori, considerato come il simbolo dell'arte ufficiale nella sua espressione più convenzionale, morì a La Rochelle il 18 agosto 1905. |© Treccani, Enciclopedia Italiana