In this large piece titled Une âme au ciel, A soul to heaven, the body of a young woman is being carefully carried to the gates of heaven through a stormy sky. How she met her fate it is not known but her expression shows that she is without care and now at peace.
Her arms are lying flat on her torso and from which roses spill as she is transported through the sky towards her final destination.
In the distance the silhouette of another angel with outstretched arms can be seen,
perhaps signalling her arrival to the afterlife.
In this poignant piece it seems that Bouguereau choose
not to portray his female subject as a full nude, but chose instead to
portray her as a partial nude, (perhaps out of respect for the dead.) allowing her robe
to cover most of her body and exposing only the top half of her upper body,
showing only part of her right breast, her left breast, arms, shoulders and
face. The only part of her lower body that is not covered is her feet.
Her facial expression and body language suggest a scene of calm and serenity as the waves gently lap against the shore. Although she is naked, she is clearly relaxed and oblivious to her surroundings. She has a medium/slightly athletic build with medium sized rounded breasts. She is leaning on a rock to steady herself as she appears to have stood on a shell or piece of debris. She is reaching down with her right hand to delicately remove whatever it is that is causing her discomfort. This shows her well-proportioned shoulder, slender upper arm and forearm. She has long dark hair which appears to be plaited and bunched up on the back of her head and held up in the middle with a band which can be seen to the back of her head. Her towel or robe hangs loosely over her knee and is discretely covering her genital area as it drapes to the
The face of the young girl in this piece bears a similar resemblance to the
subject used in
which William Bouguereau painted the following year.
The above account is my interpretation of the work and should in no way be taken as fact.
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