I love the paintings of Bouguereau. There, I've said it.
He's what's called an "Academic Painter", a stultifying title if ever there was one, and his style was assiduously classical, depicting the idealized beauty of young girls. He was much admired in his day, especially by rich patrons who ignored, even castigated, works of the Impressionists. However, once the world finally learned how to look at a Van Gogh, Cezanne, Monet, and the like, Bouguereau fell out favor with a thud.
I find in him a version of my own vision of perfect summer days, clothing-optional splash parties, and golden glowing afternoons eased into night by a breeze that gently blows out the last rays of the sunset.
I don't know whether Bouguereau brings out the sentimentalist or the dirty old man in me, but I love his paintings.
There, I've said it again.
Seated Nude, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1884
Click on the picture for a closer view.