Brian Kuether

Jeune bergère debout (Young Standing Shepherdess), after the painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau, 2021
Oil on canvas
62 x 29 in
SKU: 12801c
Price on Request
A young shepherdess stands challenging the viewer, staff in hand. Bouguereau used a play on words when naming this painting, for the shepherdess is not only standing up, but also standing her ground, made evident by her bold and confident look. When the title is read in its original French form, it reads Jeune Bergere Debout. The use of 'debout' adds an additional play on words to the meaning, as it is very similar to the word 'debut', meaning a first prominent public appearance. In the late 1800's the word was commonly associated with the debut of a debutant. Bouguereau is saying that the shepherdess is just as good as any debutant, and is once again elevating the lower class to that of the aristocracy. William Adolphe-Bouguereau’s preference for traditional style paintings is showcased with The Young Shepherdess and the Young Shepherdess Standing. This and other similar paintings were done within the pastoral mode or theme which was developed by ancient Greek and Hellenistic artists and poets. French painters who preceded him in this include Claude Lorrain, Poussin, and Watteau. This theme attracted collectors in Europe and America because of their nostalgic content. In such works the artist depicted a variety of poses and expressions. Bouguereau enjoyed painting rural settings such as the ones shown in these paintings. Much of his focus is on the subject and maintaining proper anatomy, lending a more realistic painting. This high degree of finish leads to a more life-like subject, capturing how the shepherdess’s lived during this fragment in time.