Virgin and Child (1888) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Virgin and Child - William-Adolphe Bouguereau - 1888

Artwork Information

TitleVirgin and Child
ArtistWilliam-Adolphe Bouguereau
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions102.8 x 176 cm
Art MovementNeoclassicism
Current LocationArt Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), Adelaide, Australia

About Virgin and Child

“Virgin and Child” is a work of religious painting by artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau, created in 1888 during the Neoclassicism movement. The artwork is rendered in oil on canvas and measures 102.8 x 176 cm. It is housed in the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), located in Adelaide, Australia.

The artwork features the Virgin Mary, depicted with a tranquil and solemn expression, as she holds the young Christ Child on her lap. Both figures are adorned with golden halos, signifying their sacredness. Mary is robed in a dark mantle over a red garment, traditional colors symbolizing, respectively, her mourning and royal lineage. The Christ Child is depicted unclothed, a common representation in Christian art to suggest purity and divinity. Behind them, an ornate floral-patterned background contributes to the sense of sanctity and serenity within the scene.

Bouguereau’s use of soft, lifelike textures and the tender interaction between mother and child reflect his mastery in capturing human anatomy and emotion, as well as his commitment to classical beauty and technique. The artwork embodies the devotional and aesthetic values characteristic of the period’s religious art. Through his careful composition and delicate rendering, Bouguereau creates an intimate portrayal of this iconic biblical moment.

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