Soup 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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William-Adolphe Bouguereau is known to elicit various feelings in people observing his paintings. However, none of his artworks can match Soup, a picture showing a young girl eating soup.

This picture is different from most of his earlier works because it does not feature a natural background with trees and grass. One thing is clear though: it makes people want to taste the soup.

Bouguereau put oil to canvas to create Soup in 1865. In this picture, a young lady sits on a traditional wooden chair and has a bowl of soup in her left hand while the right bears the spoon that has scooped some soup. The spoon is on its way to the girl’s mouth. There is an engaging smile on the lass’ face as she looks directly at the viewer.

Bouguereau and young women

This painting, just like many of his earlier works, brings into sharp focus the relationship between Bouguereau and young women. The artist must have had a soft spot for the ladies in his life, especially his wife and daughter. It is probably the reason he depicts only female characters in his works. Bouguereau seems to be communicating a strong message to the viewers of his art concerning women. Women are as relevant to art as they will ever be. It is possible previous artists may have ignored ladies altogether, or given them minor roles. Bouguereau is out to correct the lopsided perception about women in the society.

A tinge on Neoclassicism

Although William Bouguereau lived in the post-classic era, he found it hard t let go. Consequently, most of his artworks reflect neoclassicism. There is a tinge of neoclassicism in the painting Soup. The simple dressing, a white blouse and an overflowing skirt, and the traditional chair are all aspects of an era long gone by. Bouguereau preferred to depict the neoclassic period due to its simplicity and the ability to mystify seemingly mundane objects. The artists must have been conservative or considered the classic art as pure.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau's Soup is a painting that elicits various reactions in the viewers. Everybody likes the aroma and the taste of the good soup. The painting also stays true to Bouguereau’s inclinations: his obsession with the female body.