Born in 1825, William Bouguereau's artistic talents enabled him to paint a wide variety of subject matter, including mythology, religion, history, portraits and genre scenes.
His paintings stylistically followed the tradition of academic classicism from his tuition with François Picot. His carefully constructed and beautiful compositions, emphasising the idealised human figure, are worked through half tones to the highest degree of finish.
Bouguereau was fortunate enough to receive great recognition and critical acclaim during his lifetime. He was elected President of the Société des Artistes Français and, when the Société des Beaux-Arts was formed, the official Salon was named "le Salon Bouguereau".
Bouguereau died in 1905, leaving a great heritage of classical French art and a reputation as one of the greatest if one of the most idealistic painters of the nineteenth century. His work is still enormously popular today and is now displayed in most of the world's greatest museums.