Evening Mood (1882) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Evening Mood - William-Adolphe Bouguereau - c.1882

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Artwork Information

TitleEvening Mood
ArtistWilliam-Adolphe Bouguereau
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions207.5 x 108 cm
Art MovementAcademicism
Current LocationMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, Havana, Cuba

About Evening Mood

“Evening Mood,” a work by William-Adolphe Bouguereau dating to circa 1882, is an oil painting exemplifying the Academicism movement. Measuring 207.5 cm by 108 cm, this allegorical painting presently belongs to the collection of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana in Havana, Cuba.

The artwork depicts an ethereal female figure standing on the shore of a tranquil sea with the subtle crescent of the moon hanging in the twilight sky above. She is portrayed semi-nude, embodying the classical beauty ideals championed by Bouguereau. Her skin is rendered with a soft, porcelain-like texture that is typical of the artist’s skilled treatment of flesh in his work, and her countenance appears calm and contemplative.

Her auburn hair is gathered loosely, some locks playfully escaping, adding to the sense of gentle movement that is echoed in the fabric of her billowing drape. The dark, rich hues of her garment contrast with her fair complexion, while the diaphanous nature of the fabric suggests a delicate and otherworldly quality.

The elegant pose captures a moment of serene grace, with one foot gently touching the water, reinforcing the painting’s connection to the allegorical representations of twilight or dusk. Bouguereau’s command of light and shadow, as well as his skill in creating a harmonious composition, are evident in the subtle gradation of colors in the sky and the tranquil mood it imparts.

The serenity of the artwork is further emphasized by the undisturbed water around the figure, smoothly transitioning into gentle waves in the distance, meeting the horizon in a soft blend with the sky, suggesting the seamless transition from day to night. This work exemplifies Bouguereau’s mastery of capturing the human form with reverence and the romanticism of his subjects.

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