The younger brother, copy from Bouguereau (work in progress )

When I started to copy this painting it surprised me the huge ammount of middle tones it has, a lot of grey areas with a little amount of certain color: red, orange, green, according to the object they were depictings but always as a secondary, soft note in the overall tone. There is barely any  strong, pure note of color, but  most of the brushstrokes are used to place these softened areas that, for sure, help the author to describe the luminic atmosphere of the image, with to the iewer, however, ends showing a green robe, a pink skin, a green forest, a dark hair.

Copying was crucial to the learning process in the painter's workshop. But also, as part of a dialogue with the past. And yes, copying is a dialogue. Is following an artist in the footsteps of every action taken to accomplish certain artwork. It is an enquiry, it is an interview, it is a critique.  Why to put that color in that place? Why to make the eyes like that?, and then , as painting progresses, find the answers. I will post some of the copies I am doing as training.

William Bouguereau (France, 1825-1905) was renowned for his technique in painting and drawing and one of the most accomplished artists associated with academic painting, something that at the height of the 20th century was not a compliment. Bouguereau works still are exhibited at the first rooms of the Musee D'Orsay, a kind of introduction to the world before the impressionists, those profets of the avantgarde. Bouguereau stands there as the symbol of the old world, a kind of Ancient Regime.  Which is curious, giving how different is his work form the  traditional painiting of, say, Fragonard, Tiepolo or other painters. Because , all in all, Bouguereau somehow denies the existence of a maniera, of a style, of a personla view, as perfection of the image is the ultimate technical goal. Yes, there are certain types of beauty and composition to look after, but they are far from the personal render of the violent brushstroke. This could be seen as a bureocratic development of inertia of a system, or also a denial of the artist as a narrator. It has been seen as both probably during many years.

However, as time goes by, there has been a reappreciation of his work, specially in the technical acumen of his practice, and probably, as a consequence, somehoq also in his themes and subjects. The academic system was so neat that somehow artists at the beginning of the 20th century, who at some point learn it, complained of its "robotic" result and of not leaving room for expression. Nevertheless, as other traditions, is a accomplish corpus of knowledge that deserves a deeper look from the uninitiated.


Other copies I have made: