May 2021

The Ecouen painters, were they prudish?

At the time when William Bouguereau and Alexandre Cabanel were very famous with their academic nude paintings, later qualifier as “art pompier”, the Ecouen painters look especially prudish. We have to admit that the “genre painting”, showing the day-to-day peasant life, did not indicate to be interested with the nudity.

Within the artworks belonging to our Association’s members, we found two examples:
– a Luigi Chialiva study: firstly, he painted nude models before dressing them for his paintings finish version
– a small discreet Pierre Edouard Frere engraving called “Gallant scene”

Deeply searching on the Internet and everywhere else, we could not find anything else on this subject.

What about Guillaume Seignac (son of Paul Seignac), one of the William Bouguereau pupils?
In fact, he belonged to the following generation and was not living in Ecouen. Anyhow, the Ecouen City museum displays one of his paintings but it’s one of the few where the model is dressed!

Really prudish the Ecouen painters !

Gallant scene (Pierre Edouard Frère)
The Birth of Venus (William Bouguereau)
The Birth of Venus (Alexandre Cabanel)
A nude lady (Luigi Chialiva)
The muse (Guillaume Seignac)