William-Adolphe Bouguereau & The Birth of Venus

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William-Adolphe Bouguereau

French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) married two opposites: photo-realism and mythical subjects. Known for his highly accurate representations of the human body, and in particular the often venerated female form, Bouguereau gave life to Classical figures with his paintings of Venus, Virgil, The Virgin, and other epic figures.

A Realist painter in an era of Impressionists, William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s works are nevertheless known for their romantic qualities, with idealized scenes and fanciful imagery – whether depicting a domestic moment or mythical legend.

One such legend, and the inspiration for so many works of art, The Birth of Venus, became one of Bouguereau’s most legendary paintings. It shows the goddess of love standing seductively atop a shell, a symbol of female genitalia, similar to Boticelli’s rendition.  Encircling her are nymphs, tritons, onlookers, admiring her notorious beauty. The canvas Bouguereau worked on for his painting of Venus was as grand as the goddess herself, measuring over nine by seven feet.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s style is considered academic by virtue of his thematic emphasis on mythological and historical figures. And no doubt his process was, indeed academic:  Bouguereau studied Biblical and classical stories, attended anatomical dissections, examined historical clothing, and more to create smart and elegant works of art.

To learn more about New York Art Gallery Ackerman’s Fine Art, and French realist painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau, please see our video below:

As a gallery, art broker, and art dealer, Ackerman’s Fine Art is actively purchasing works by William Bouguereau. 


Kenny Ackerman is an Art Dealer in New York, specializing in Fine Art Paintings from 19th-21st century Europe and America. To buy or sell original paintings by artists we represent, contact Ackerman’s Fine Art here.


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