Fraternal Love (1851) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Fraternal Love - William-Adolphe Bouguereau - c.1851

Artwork Information

TitleFraternal Love
ArtistWilliam-Adolphe Bouguereau
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions147 x 113.8 cm (57 7/8 x 44 1/4 in.)
Art MovementNeoclassicism
Current LocationMuseum of Fine Arts, Boston

About Fraternal Love

The artwork titled “Fraternal Love” was created by the artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau circa 1851. It is an oil on canvas piece characterized by the Neoclassicism art movement and is classified as a genre painting. The dimensions of the artwork are 147 x 113.8 cm (57 7/8 x 44 1/4 in.). This piece is currently housed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

The composition of “Fraternal Love” captures an intimate moment among its subjects. It depicts a tender embrace between two children as they are watched over by a serene maternal figure. The older child is shown affectionately kissing the younger one on the cheek, which reflects the purity and innocence of fraternal bonds. The maternal figure cradles the younger child while leaning her head gently against the older child, suggesting protection and familial unity. The figures are positioned against a soft, muted background that does not detract from the focal point of the composition – the loving interaction between the subjects.

The hues and drapery of the clothing, mainly consisting of gentle blues and grays, add to the peaceful and calming atmosphere of the scene. The representation of the figures is rendered with a remarkable attention to detail, from the cascading fabric to the realistic depiction of the children’s skin. Bouguereau’s expert use of light and shadow imbues the painting with a sense of volume and realism that is characteristic of his work and typical of the neoclassical style that sought to emulate the ideals and techniques of ancient Classical art. Overall, “Fraternal Love” exemplifies themes of love, innocence, and familial relationships, rendered with technical precision and emotional sensitivity.

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