Bouguereau's Art in the 20ieth century

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Bouguerau’s Art in the 20th century

The graduates of the schools of Fine Art all over the world never heard in these last few decades the name of Bouguereau, the most important painter of the late 19th century according to the viewpoint of Monet and Degas. This great artist, as president of the Paris school of Fine Art and the Paris Salon, opened the faculty for the women artists and swept all the awards wherever there was an art contest. However, in the 20ieth century, the propaganda against Academic painting became so violent that the young artists had either to condemn it, or attend the school from the window. They learned to reject beauty, the influence of composition, drawing, value and atmospheric mood. Academic painting is bad by definition, because it uses human figures, theme, a story to tell and objects from the real world. If an artwork is created by a famous modern artist, it is automatically considered a masterpiece. If an art lover doesn’t seem to estimate its grandeur, he is certainly lacking intelligence.

Under such pressure the students of the schools of Fine Art find greatness in every modern piece of art. They are taught that the paintings of Bouguereau, Leighton and Gerome are bad by definition. It is ironic that the people, who speak of freedom of expression, are trying to prohibit the figurative artists from painting realistically. This affluent visual language doesn’t have eyes to watch it. It doesn’t mean of course that all realistic art is inspiring. Nevertheless figurative art has more sense than modern art, which asserts that the canvas is flat and one doesn’t need skill or technique to be a modern artist. It is therefore defined that non art is art, and consequently figurative art is not real art. Nothing of what is created must have shape or design. According to critics Bouguereau copied earlier painters. Painting, like everything else, was not created by parthenogenesis. Only if you conquer the knowledge of past and add your own knowledge, can you make steps forward. The great Academic masters knew perfectly the techniques of the masters of past. With the accumulated knowledge, they created an avalanche of new themes and masterpieces.

Soon after his death early 20ieth century, the works of Bouguereau fell very low in the stock market of art. When however, the American museums bought most of his masterpieces at very low prices, their value rose again sharply, and now they are estimated at millions of dollars.