The Birth of Venus, 1879 (oil on canvas), Bouguereau, William-Adolphe (1825-1905) / Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France / The Bridgeman Art Library
William Bougeureau (1825 – 1905) created a lush fantasy realm filled with idealized mythological figures, angels, women and children. His masterful command of human form, delicate colors and enchanted light brought the souls and spirits of his subjects to life with captivating realism. A tireless worker, he created 800 life-size works whose unique style and subjects drew an enthusiastic following of students and imitators. A member of the French Academy, he singlehandedly opened it to women.