This distinguished painter gained an international reputation and was very popular with the general public, although his works have been condemned by a certain school of critics on the ground that he was too severely academic. The present painting is one of his best known works, and entirely characteristic of his methods and aims in art. Other well-known canvases of this nature are - "The Consoler," "A Girl Defending Herself from Love," "Prayers," "The Invocation," and "Covetousness."

Bouguereau did not confine himself, however, to what may be termed morality pictures, but succeeded equally in other fields. After his training at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, he studied in Rome, and used his experience in Italy with good effect on his return by decorating mansions in the classic style on the lines of the frescoes at Pompeii and Herculaneum. He became a regular exhibitor at the Salon, and his picture, "The Martyr's Triumph," now in the Luxembourg, which shows the body of St. Cecilia being borne to the catacombs, was exhibited at the great exhibition of 1855. Afterwards the State commissioned him to paint the Emperor's visit to the sufferers from the inundations at Tarascon.

He thus expressed his views on art and the position of the artist:

"The artist is born. Technique may be acquired by incessant work, but the instinct for art is a quality of the soul.... One must love it with his whole being. When the artist gives all that he is, all that he feels, when he translates with sincerity his deepest emotions, he can, even with an inferior technique, produce something beautiful, for in art there is something more than technique - soul-sentiment."

From the book "Famous Paintings" Volume 2 printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
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Online "Name the Painting"

Biography of William Adolphe Bouguereau
at Art

"The Shell"
by Bouguereau

by Bouguereau

"The Prayer"
painting by Bouguereau

"Rest at Harvest"
by Bouguereau

Famous Paintings in this Series

James Archer
My Great Grandmother

The Meeting


John Brett
From the Dorsetshire Cliffs

Arnesby Brown
The River Bank

Joseph Clark
Mother's Darling

John Constable
The Hay-Wain

Jean Baptiste Camille
The Fisherman's Hut

Jean Baptiste Camille
A Flood

Leonardo Da Vinci
Monna Lisa

Edouard Detaille
The Dream

Henri Fantin-Latour

Thomas Gainsborough
Queen Charlotte

Thomas Gainsborough
The Market Cart

Jean Baptiste Greuze
The Head of a Girl

Jean Baptiste Greuze

James Clark Hook
Home With the Tide

Alfred William Hunt
Windsor Castle

Josef Israels
The Shipwrecked Mariner

B.W. Leader
The Stream in Summer-time

Madame Vigee Le Brun
Portrait of the Artist

Alphonse Legros
A Canal With a Fisherman

Anton Mauve
Watering Horses

J.L.E. Meissonier
The Cavalier

Sir J.E. Millais
Speak! Speak!

Sir J.E. Mallais
My First Sermon

George Morland
The Reckoning

George Morland
The Inside of a Stable

The Immaculate Conception
of the Virgin

Alfred Parsons
When Nature Painted
All Things Gay

Ralph Peacock
The Sisters

Syndics of the
Cloth Merchants' Guild

Guido Reni
"Ecce Homo"

Sir Joshua Reynolds
Portrait of Mrs. Richard Hoare
With Her Infant Son

Briton Riviere
The Temptation
in the Wilderness

Dante Gabriel
Day Dreams

John Singer Sargent
Miss Ellen Terry
as Lady Macbeth

Lady Stanley
(Dorothy Tennant)
His First Offence

Jan Steen
Grace Before Meat

Marcus Stone
On the Road from
Waterloo to Paris

Constant Troyon
Watering Cattle

H.S. Tuke
"All Hands to the Pumps"

King Philip IV. of Spain

S.E. Waller
Sweethearts and Wives

Thomas Webster
The Smile

Famous Paintings Volume 1
Art Gallery

Famous Paintings Volume 2
Art Gallery

Art Appreciation