Love Takes Off William-Adolphe Bouguereau Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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L’amour s’envole or Love Takes Off is a notable painting by the French traditionalist and academic painter, William Bouguereau.

His genre of paintings often include mythological themes wherein classical subjects are interpreted in a modern way.

He is known for giving emphasis on the female human body, both nude as well as in classical themes and outfits. Bouguereau was always preoccupied by the eurhythmies of human anatomy.

His high quality works have earned him a place with the renowned painters of his times. All of his paintings reflect his artistic skills and unique techniques and are done using traditional painting methods such as oil sketches, pencil studies and so on.

Love Takes Off is a particularly interesting piece. Here, we see Eros the mischievous god of love depicted as a cupid child with bow and arrows.

Eros is in mid-air in the painting, with his bow and arrows ready, probably to light the flame of love in the hearts of men, women and gods.

Beside him is a nude female with flowing ebony hair, sitting on what seems to be the floor of a forest or garden, with arms lifted high up and wide, as if sending off Eros on a mission.

The female in question could either be his goddess mother Aphrodite, who is associated with love, beauty, procreation and pleasure. Although Eros was a fairly naughty and disobedient child, he was always fiercely loyal to his mother.

During his time, Bouguereau was regarded as one of the greatest painters on Earth by the academic art community. However, he also faced a lot of oppositions and criticisms by the avant-garde.

He was very popular in Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and USA; his works commanded steep prices in these places. In fact, such was his popularity that he was also mentioned in the novel ‘The Sign of the Four’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1890. Mr. Sholto, a character in the book states that there cannot be the least question about the Bouguereau as he (Sholto) was partial to the French modern school.

Apart from Love Takes Off, Bouguereau has many masterpieces and best-selling works to his credit such as The Knitting Girl (1869), The Virgin, Jesus and Saint John Baptist (1875), Virgin of the Angels (1881), The Shepherdess (1889), The Ravishment of Psyche (1895) and The Oreads (1902) to name a few.