Child at Bath (1886) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Child at Bath - William-Adolphe Bouguereau - c.1886

Artwork Information

TitleChild at Bath
ArtistWilliam-Adolphe Bouguereau
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions83.5 x 61.6 cm (32 7/8 x 24 1/4 in.)
Art MovementAcademicism
Current LocationHenry Art Gallery, University of Washington

About Child at Bath

The artwork titled “Child at Bath” was created by the esteemed artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau circa 1886, embodying the Academicism movement of that era. It is an oil on canvas piece, showcasing the traditional artistic mastery in its portrayal of a young subject. Measuring approximately 83.5 x 61.6 cm (32 7/8 x 24 1/4 in.), this portrait is housed in the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington.

The artwork presents a portrait of a young child captured in a candid moment of repose. With a serene and contemplative expression, the child is seated, depicted with a remarkable lifelike quality that is characteristic of Bouguereau’s skill in capturing the delicate features of his subjects. The child’s gaze is directed outwards, engaging with the viewer in an intimate, though perhaps unintended, connection.

Clearly apparent is the artist’s exceptional use of light and shadow to create a soft, palpable skin tone, highlighting the innocence and youthfulness of the child. The background is minimally detailed, darkened to contrast with the subject and isolate them within the composition. Moreover, the fine details of the fabric draped around the child’s lower body have been rendered with such meticulous attention to texture and form that they convincingly fold and gather, adding to the overall realism. The composition is balanced by subtle hints of the natural surroundings on the right, which include wildflowers, thus situating the child in a serene outdoor setting that complements the tranquility of the moment portrayed.

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