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This painting of a nude by William Bouguereau titled The Bather which was painted around 1879 is a very peaceful and tranquil work. It is an oil on canvas with a Height: 25.25 in (64.1 cm) and a Width of 16.25 in (41.3 cm) and is held at the Hirschl & Adler Galleries Inc, New York.
It is set on a rocky out crop on the shore of the ocean with land shown in the background to the right of the subject, indicating that its setting was perhaps on the edge of a bay.
It is of a naked young woman bathing on the shore. Her youthful looks, smooth skin, slim slender hour glass figure and breast size suggests that she is perhaps quite young, possibly in her mid to late teens, particularly as her breasts appear to be small and uneven in size. Her left breast, which appears to be larger than her right is quite rounded and full were as her right breast appears smaller and less well developed. She also has pert puffy nipples which may also be an indication that she is still quite young and has not yet reached full maturity. She is fresh faced, young and innocent looking and is of a light build with narrow shoulders, a narrow rib cage, thin waist and long slender legs, again suggesting perhaps that she is not yet fully mature, but still in her mid to late teens.
Detail of a young girls breasts.
In this depiction by William Bouguereau it appears that the young female subject has uneven breasts and puffy nipples, On closer inspection the areola around her nipples is depicted as still being quite smooth, fresh and pink looking suggesting that she may have indeed been quite young when Bouguereau chose to portray her.
Bouguereau has managed to capture the mood brilliantly and has portrayed his subject sitting peacefully on some rocks by the shore while the waves lap gently against the shore line behind, and the sun warms the rocks and gently kisses her naked body.
She is perfectly calm and is oblivious to any onlooker as she sits in her own peaceful world with her tunic beneath her, which appears she has either let slip from her body or perhaps she had placed upon the rocks to provide some comfort for her naked bottom. She is definitely relaxed and at ease with her surroundings while she bathes under the suns warm rays and listens to the waves behind lapping against the rocks while she tentatively sits picking something from the sole of her foot. Perhaps a small piece of shell or some other debris that was washed up on the shore.
The face of the young girl in this piece bears a similar resemblance to the subject used in Une me au ciel, A soul in heaven. which William Bouguereau painted the previous year, although the female portrayed in this piece appears to have slightly fuller breasts although it was not unusual for artists including William Bouguereau to use various parts from several models to compose a piece.
Bouguereau was a master at painting realistic detail which can be seen in the way he has skillfully painted the hands and feet of the girl in this painting. Another excellent example of Bouguereau's ability to paint realistic photo like hands can be seen in his depiction of Dante and Virgil in Hell