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ADOLF-WILLIAM BOUGUEREAU

He was charged with debauchery and excessive eroticism of paintings that corrupted the young people.

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Adolf-William Bouguereau (1825-1905) - one of the most talented French artists of the 19th century, the largest representative of salon academicism, who wrote more than 800 canvases. But it turned out that his name and ingenious artistic heritage were severely criticized and for almost a century were consigned to oblivion. In the French port town of La Rochelle, not far from the legendary Fort Boyar in 1825 in the family of a merchant wine by Theodore Bouguereau a boy whose name will be at the head of French painting almost to the very end of the 19th century was born. 

In 1850, a novice artist wins the Rome Prize and receives a grant for an annual education in Italy, where he learns the basics of classical art, gets acquainted with the brilliant creations of the great masters of the Renaissance and acquires his own recognition.

Bouguereau worked without fatigue on his creations. From early morning he came to his workshop, and left for home after midnight. Like all great artists, he was characterized by constant dissatisfaction with himself and irrepressible. For this pursuit of excellence his contemporaries gave him the nickname "Sisyphus of the 19th century". Irreproachable knowledge anatomy of the human body, scrupulous detailing, surprisingly chosen color scheme - all this made the canvases of William Bouguereau are extraordinarily realistic.

And already at the height of glory, William marries Marie-Nellie Monschablo, who will give him five children. But family 
happiness of the painter will be short-lived. A terrible tragedy will break into his life: one by one three of his children will die, followed by his wife. A grievous grief will fall on the shoulders of the artist and will be reflected in his work.

And to somehow forget about the grievous loss, the artist completely devoted himself to work. He painted portraits and paintings on historical, mythological, biblical and allegorical subjects, where the nakedness of female bodies and idleness prevailed, which many aroused discontent. The painter was charged with debauchery and excessive eroticism of the pictures that corrupted the young generation. With each canvass critic raged more and more. And in 1881 the French government subjected William Bouguereau administrative control by the representatives of the Paris Salon.

Only after 20 years William marries a second time. The chosen one will be his student Elizabeth Jane Gardner, who will devote herself to her husband's business. The artist, it would seem, has found a long-awaited peace of mind. But his happiness again was darkened by tragedy: the fourth son of his five children dies of tuberculosis.

The death of his son completely ruined the health of the master. And the depressed mood, the accumulated fatigue, the immense the addiction to alcohol and smoking had a detrimental effect on his heart. And at the age of 79, the genius painter was gone.

For almost a century his name and artistic heritage were in oblivion, and only in critical literature one could find a negative mention of William Bouguereau as a painter of the genre of nude. His paintings, sent to the museum's storerooms, all these years were stored in damp basements and in attics.

Since the 1980s, the attitude of connoisseurs of art to salon and academic painting has changed, and Bouguereau has begun regarded as one of the most important painters of the nineteenth century.