Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Venus with a Dove by Léon-Jean Bazille Perrault

Venus  a la Colombe (1908)

We like to have an actual Venus on Venus Observations so here is one by French painter Léon-Jean Bazille Perrault (1832-1908).

Perrault, the son of a tailor, was born in Poitiers and first attended art school at the age of 10.  He won many local competitions but as his family was poor he had to take  a job as a decorator at the age of 14, working on, amongst other things, the restoration of the murals in the Sainte-Radegonde church in Poitiers.  At the age of 19 the city of Poitiers awarded him a 600 Franc grant which enabled him to enroll in the Ecole des Beaux-Artes in Paris.

Vanitas (1886)

He studied under Picot and then Bougereau who became a lifelong friend.  Initially, he had some setbacks, particularly failures at the Prix de Rome.  However, success at the Paris Salon followed.  In 1866 Napoleon III bought his picture The Brood and his success was assured, as was a long career producing paintings of children.  He was awarded the Légion d'honneur in 1887.

Léon-Jean Bazille Perrault (1832-1908)

Reproductions of his work became very popular, especially in the United States where many of his paintings still reside in private collections.

A Water Nymph (1898)

Today he is not nearly as well known as Bougereau but we think that this painting. as well as A Water Nymph are more than competent.  Nudes make up a much smaller proportion of his work than Bougereau's so we suspect that whilst these remain timeless his sentimental pictures of children and mythological scenes have fallen out of favour.

La Baigneuse (1875)

Probably his most sensuous painting is La Baigneuse of a young lady in a hammock which seems to have very little to do with bathing other than the fact that she is naked.

Following several years with heart problems Perrault died in the resort town of Royan where he spent much of the final years of his life.

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