They are seemingly close companions and this hints at the way that the artist views the relationship between the two disciplines.
Realistic settings were often utilised in William Bouguereau's painting. Art and Literature is a fine example of this. The artist has chosen a backdrop that is relaxing without being invasive. In fact, he subdues the background with his use of brushstrokes. The area is indistinct to an extent. This forces the person looking at the painting to keep their focus on the to women in the foreground.
Mythological idea are often explored in the artist' work. Bouguereau's use of a classical Greek accessory remind us of his perspective on this area. He is not exploring them from a complete global view but instead has chosen to focus on elements associated with Greek and Roman culture. Interpretations of classic subjects like this can be found in his work.
William Bouguereau was respected as a traditionalist. This is where his strength was found and those who enjoy his paintings can expect work that is reminiscent of Renaissance work in some ways. His use of color soothes the senses. It also invites onlookers to focus on the expressions of the figures in this painting.
In his effort to call attention to each discipline in a personal way, the artist invites greater contemplation of the effect of Art and Literature on society. Bouguereau positions each figure in a regal posture, leading some viewers to infer that he holds each in high esteem. Art and Literature was completed in 1867. At that time, the art scene in France was closely linked to fashion. Both had a strong influence on society and spurred people toward greater creativity.
In many ways, artists in France in 1867 worked hard to capture some of the values inherent to the world of fashion. The poses used here are almost like those seen on models who are showing off the latest designs. Each figure appears to be slightly seductive. They challenge those looking on to learn more about them.