Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bouguereau's working methods

When Graydon Parrish was here to teach the color workshop, he gave a great lecture on Bouguereau's picture making process. Graydon is an expert on the work of William Bouguereau and has so much to share on the subject. His lecture emphasised the amount of preparation that went into Bouguereau's paintings. He would work on multiple studies, making lots of changes along the way before he started the final painting. This series of sketches and studies building up to the famous "Nymphs et Satyrs" is a great example:

Thumbnail sketches - where it all begins

detail of the thumbnail sketch

Satyr sketch

Nymph sketches, finding the right pose

color study for the Satyr

Sketch, trying out different poses

Cartoon, still adjusting the poses

Poster study in oil paint

The final painting: Nymphs et Satyrs, by William Bouguereau, 1873


Anonymous said...

That was a great lecture....many thanks to GCA for making them available.

Anonymous said...

Question... Hopefully I can get a response from Graydon but I'll ask anyway.

When Bouguereau painted complicated compositions like this, could he have modeled some the flesh tones from memory?

Of course no one is holding the dynamic poses in this piece so I was just curious as to how the process possibly went.

Any response is appreciated.

graydon said...

Bouguereau idealized his flesh tones, so likely he did them from memory and conceptually. Often, too, he would keep the model at hand for reference.

Anonymous said...

I see. That makes it even more amazing for me!

Thanks for the response.

Natalie said...

Thanks so much for posting this! It's fascinating seeing the steps that came before this gorgeous piece of work!

nobody said...

how cai i lear bouguereau's technique? someone could help me!please

brian said...

Thanks so much for this. Exactly what I was hoping to find. And, cudos to my painting instructor, Mira, for repeatedly suggesting that we use a similar series of steps.