Here's the donkey! This painting which has been called Return from the Harvest, was actually named the Donkey Ride by the artist. This particularly fine painting lives at the Cummer museum in Jacksonville Florida. I have never seen the original, but I would like to. I'll bet its a knockout. It is 42" by 95 inches . That's seven feet, nine inches high!
Let me show you some paintings from an earlier French artist, of the same sort of subjects Bouguereau painted. My aim here is to show that Bouguereau was an extension of the French tradition and not some oddity of the 19th century. He extends a tradition of idyllic "Arcadian" pictures from several generations of French painters before him . His late 19th century "slick" handling makes it seem a new and decadent sort of art, that he invented himself, but it is not. First another Bouguereau;
Now, as a comparison, this painting below is by Francois Boucher 1703-1770.
The calligraphic, more drawn look is different from the Bouguereau's, but the naked nymphs, and goddesses are from the same casting agency. How could anything be more lovely, there is nice glowing color, and real clean drawing, notice how "open" the lights are. Here's another Boucher.
I can hardly believe this is legal. Send the children out of the room. We are only doing this because we have to, I'd much rather be looking at sharks preserved in formaldehyde.
And now I will end with another Bouguereau:
So you see, There is an on going tradition within French painting of these rather sexualized and superbly beautiful Arcadian pictures . Tomorrow....More Bouguereau! and another historic comparison followed by a discussion of modeling.