The French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau painted one of his most iconic masterpieces entitled Pieta in 1876. The painter began working on this piece shortly after the death of his oldest son, Georges, who was only sixteen years old, in 1875. This significant loss marked Bouguereau, who became severely depressed for many months. Pieta is a memorial to the artist’s departed son, a desperate and mournful cry of a parent. This scene depicts an incomprehensible incident that causes disbelief and endless ache to those who have lost.
Different from the paintings of the past masters and their interpretation of this scene, Bouguereau gives a unique view of this sacred event. Although he follows the standards of traditional Christian religious imagery, the atmosphere is entirely different, mainly because of Mary’s presence. The artist portrays the mother of Christ in almost a state of disbelief, clutching onto her son’s dead body that lays in her lap. Both figures stand centered on the canvas and have an ornamented, golden halo around their head. Mary stares directly into the viewer’s eyes in deep sorrow. Tears fall from her red eyes while her lip quivers from weeping. While other artists portrayed Mary giving her son to the world during this moment in a humbling posture, Bouguereau depicts her as a mother like any other, mournful and unaccepting of her son’s death. She wears a black cloak over her head that casts a shadow over her eyes.
In the forefront of the composition, a beautifully painted golden jug of wine is placed on a large platter. The crown of thorns in which Jesus Christ was forced to wear during his crucifixion can also be seen on the ground, over a blood-stained white fabric. A circle of angles surrounds mother and son, each reacting in their way to the tragic scene. Bouguereau included a rainbow of colors on the angle’s clothing, starting with yellow on the left, going to violet, blue, green, red and blue-green on the right – while mother Mary’s dress was painted in a deep, dark red. Some angles cry, others mourn, while some stare at the image of Christ just as others looks away. Although Bouguereau’s technique was impeccably executed by the influence of past Renaissance masters, he was able to give a whole new emotional depth to the scene, creating a real masterpiece.
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Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of Pieta, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of Pieta 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.
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If, in the unlikely event you were dissatisfied with the painting after reviewing it in person, it can be returned for a full refund for up to 365 days after delivery.
When you receive the painting; you are free to return it for more revisions or else for a full refund minus our actual shipping cost -- which is, on average, $25 per painting.
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Depending on the degree of damage to the warranted painting, it will either be repaired or replaced. This warranty service is provided free of charge.