OIL PAINTING: Fardeau Agreable [Not too Much to Carry], 1895
In 1895, the year Bouguereau painted this work, Claude Monet
was obsessively involved in his famous series of facades of the Rouen Cathedral, Paul Gauguin was painting the exotic women of Tahiti in bright, shocking colors and a purposefully "primitive" style, and Vincent van Gogh
had been deceased for five years. Compared with paintings of these moderns, until only recently many 20th century art critics found Bouguereau paintings staid, somewhat artificial, and to the taste of some, saccharin. In our own time, as a broader-based and more fully developed view of 19th century art is formed, we are able to appreciate such seemingly antithetical artistic styles as Academism and Impressionism. Bouguereau, however, scorned the avant-garde, remaining steadfast to, in his words, "the sincere study of nature, the search for the true and the beautiful."