William-Adolphe Bouguereau's 1899 painting La Vierge au Lys (The Virgin of the Lilies) is both a traditionalist canvas from a much-lauded Academy painter and a curiously modern icon in keeping with the emerging Art Nouveau style. In light of his elegant and populist handling of broad subjects – from social issues to religious iconography – Bouguereau's work was widely accepted and celebrated in his day and was considered one of the most skilled and competent painters by the French Salons. Evading the controversy of many of his contemporaries, the artist's career progressed in an upward ascent with few barriers or obstacles. While he was held in extremely high esteem by the French Academy his was work simultaneously reviled by the more reactionary elements in artistic salons. La Vierge au Lys is typical of his late work, demonstrating an unparalleled knowledge of balance and form, yet also demonstrating a characteristic awareness of the trends and tastes of the contemporary art market.
Bouguereau's realistic genre paintings and interpretative reproductions often dealt with Christian or mythological themes, much to the satisfaction of his commissioners and patrons. The artist did however imbue his canvases with key themes for modern audiences. Resonating with the style and filigree of late-nineteenth century French interior design, La Vierge au Lys demonstrates an intricate knowledge of the more radical, yet still established, style of Art Nouveau that was capturing the minds of the Salons of Paris, Prague, and Vienna.
Bouguereau's painting is a playful reproduction of high-Byzantine ornamental and devotional art. Art Nouveau period, a new art’ promoted by artists such as Gustav Klimt and his contemporaries proposed an elegant and ornamental style reflecting an affection for contemporary architecture, furniture, jewellery and interior design in the hope of achieving a ‘total’ work of art. This meditation on the relationship between forms of artistic expression and devotional faith makes La Vierge au Lys a stark and subtle work in Bouguereau's oeuvre.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of La Vierge au Lys (The Virgin of the Lilies), you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of La Vierge au Lys (The Virgin of the Lilies) that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.