Equality before death-L'égalité devant la mort.(c1848)-Male nude.
L'égalité devant la mort. (1848)
Equality before death.
Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France
William Bouguereau. Equality before death. L'égalité devant la mort. (1848)
At the age of 23 after studying for two years at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris William Bouguereau under the pressure from his family and with a huge desire to succeed produced his first major piece which was titled Equality before death, L'égalité devant la mort. It was a 141cm x 269cm oil on canvas representation of the angle of death covering the body of a young man with a shroud and was his first submission to the salon.
It is a haunting piece, the young male subject laying out beneath the angel of death, representing the personification of all man kind, reminding us both of the inevitability of our own death as the angel of death lays a shroud over us as if to close the curtain on our worldly existence, and that once we have passed away all that we stood for and have done with our lives on earth will be meaningless unless we have lived our lives to the full and not squandered and wasted what precious little time we have. No one knows how long we have got as the young male subject in this piece depicts. As a wise man once said "We are a long time dead so make the most of what little time we have"
The above account is my interpretation of the work and should in no way be taken as fact.