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The Elder Sister

By | December 2012
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The Elder Sister – William-Adolphe Bouguereau
The Elder Sister is a painting by a well-known French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau. This work of art was completed by William in 1869. As a result of research made on this painting, it was found that the painting was anonymously given to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston as a gift in 1992. According to the museum, this was a gift of an anonymous lady in memory of her father. Since then this amazing work of art has been a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine arts, Houston; becoming one of the most notable highlights in the museums painting collection. Its dimensions are 51¼ × 38¼ in (130.2 × 97.2 cm) and the frame is 67½ × 55 × 5½ in (171.5 × 139.7 × 14 cm). This ‘oil on canvas’ painting shows a young girl (which represents the character of ‘the elder sister’) without shoes, sitting on a rock and holding a much younger child on her lap, with a calm, quiet and beautiful rural terrestrial landscape behind her. William Bouguereau is well known for his academic painting style in which he uses his skill and talent in painting children, showing in huge detail every expression, and mood or feeling he is trying to pass across to the viewers. The beauty of the girl and her eyes, which are looking directly at the viewer, as well as the balance composition and the positioning of the legs and arms of the children, demonstrate this fact. One of the major reasons I was very interested in this painting was the excellent use of colors. William uses these colors to show movement and to depict a sense of realism to his viewers. He uses a combination of warm, bright and dull colors to provide beauty to the painting. It is a realistic painting in which we can see realistic objects like the clouds, the grass, the earth, sand, mud, little stones/rocks, shrubs, water and a whole lot. Looking at this painting at a glance, I thought it was a photograph; that is how realistic it is. William uses colors in little...

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