One of the first times I became transfixed by art was when I was a kid visiting my grandmother in San Francisco. I went with my dad to the Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum, and came across "The Broken Pitcher" (that's it above). I just stood and stared at it, and even after leaving and looking at other paintings, I had to come back before we left for another visit. Every time we visited my grandma after that, I'd make sure to also see the painting. I even got a poster to put on my wall. I think I loved it so much in part because of my age. I was like this little girl in the painting. I connected with her.
While "The Broken Pitcher" is my clear favorite, I like other Bouguereau paintings as well. You really can't go wrong with youth and beauty and luminous skin.
There's such a sweetness to so many of his works and a sadness to many of them as well. I think I like the sad ones the best. "The Broken Pitcher" certainly has its somberness and tension, doesn't it?
I know a Bouguereau painting the moment I see one. There was one at the Getty in LA when we visited in June. Bouguereau has lots of angel/cupid type paintings, and I'm not as into those as I am his sad/lounging peasant girls.
I like how knowing these girls are. I wonder sometimes if I'd be a big fan of Bouguereau if I discovered him in my 20s or 30s. Maybe, but maybe not. I don't connect with these young subjects anymore, but I have that memory of connecting with them, and that's part of the reason I still love Bouguereau so tremendously.