May 17, 2011

Bouguereau x 2 Week - "The Curtsey" and "Sewing"

On this Day in the History of Art: Sandro Boticelli died (1510), A. J. Casson born (1898)
This week I'm going to post two images per day of Bouguereau’s work--one piece that I don't like and one that I do.

Nationality: French
Born-Died: 1825-1905

These two paintings are similar in that they both depict simple, ordinary actions performed by similar subjects, but I prefer the second piece to the first. The Curtsey appears artificial and posed whereas Sewing appears naturalistic. The artificiality of the pose in Curtsey is particularly annoying because the subject is supposed to be cute. The second model was probably posed with just as much artificiality, but because more consideration was applied to the details of the pose, it appears much more natural. The fictional world of Sewing seems more plausible and contained whereas the girl in Curtsey seems like she is "smiling for the camera."

Both paintings are rendered with great care and in particular the varied textures of the fabric were nice touches. I find the not-quite-centered but not-quite-to-the-side composition of the first painting to be without purpose or interest, but the more energetic lines of the second are wonderfully integrated into the image and add a spice to an otherwise uneventful scene.

The Curtsey
Creation Date: 1898
Media: Oil on canvas
Size: 29.33 x 54.33 in. (74.5 x 138 cm)
Location: Private collection

Creation Date: 1898
Size: 27.95 x 45.47 in (71 x 115.5 cm)
Media: Oil on canvas
Location: Private collection

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