Study Drawing for The Birth of Venus 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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The sketch found here is a figurative study drawing completed by William-Adolphe Bouguereau is preparation for his monmental painting, The Birth of Venus

The pose used in the final painting is very similar to that of here, suggesting that after this drawing the artist was relatively happy to begin work. Other drawings from his career give indications of changing poses, even sometimese altering the model herself, but none of that occurs here.

The final painting was far more complex, making it likely that Bouguereau produced many other study drawings before beginning on the oil work. Perhaps he took other figures to address indivdually, before starting to put them together on canvas in initial light brush strokes.

Bouguereau was classically trained and also a traditional artist who would have followed standard processes for putting his work together. Some other artists see this as a negative but there can be no doubt as to the excellent skills and training that he possessed and experienced, as well as the high quality of work that appears throughout his career.

Even in a relatively simple sketch such as this, we can instantly understand why the public are so fond of Bouguereau's work. The innocent beauty of his models plus the poses in which they were placed gives a dream-like atmosphere, far away from the harsh realities of modern life.

The final composition added several more adults plus a wealth of cupids who playfully fly around the canvas. There is much to see and enjoy here, and the colour scheme is also of a natural feel, with greens and blues throughout.