Bursting forth with inimitable warmth, brilliance and adoration of subject, the paintings of French artist Antoine Bouvard are amongst the most highly regarded of the Venetian genre.
This paramount painter of Venice was born in the town of L’Isere in eastern France in 1870. Studying at Paris’ École des Beaux-Arts, the young artist initially pursued a career as an architect, studying art and architecture under Simon-Claude Constant-Dufeux. He experienced much success as an architect, becoming the Director of Architectural Services for the Seine and leading the construction of the Bourse du Travail and the Boulevard Morland in Paris. However, it would be painting that would take hold of Bouvard, leading him to create some of the most captivating scenes of Venice ever composed.
Venice was a key city visited during the Grand Tour that was customary for the elite during the 18th and 19th centuries, and its popularity would only expand with the advent of the extended railway system in the late 19th century. Bouvard frequented Venice throughout the 1920s and 30s, falling in love with innate beauty of “the Floating City,” especially its architecture, which features prominently in all the artist’s works. In the work Doge's Palace, a flood of golden sunlight illuminates the famed landmark with incredible vibrancy. The brilliant color palette draws the eye to the unique architecture of the northeastern Italian city, blending Bouvard’s primary passions in life in one wondrous canvas.
Bouvard’s rendering of atmospheric effects, namely sunlight, in combination with soft brushwork and vibrant color, show the influences of Felix Ziem, the famed Barbizon artist whose life mirrored that of Bouvard. Also a trained architect, Ziem became transfixed by the Venetian landscape throughout his career, and Bouvard . Bouvard’s refined mastery of light is apparent in Doge's Palace, as the last light of day dances over the famed landmark, the gold, peach and rose hues blending gracefully into the water as gondolas and sailboats navigate the waterway.
Whether referred to as the “City of Water,” “Queen of the Adriatic,” or “City of Canals, ” the paintings of Antoine Bouvard transcend these charming epithets. His landscapes were deeply admired during his lifetime, and continue to command considerable attention, forever cementing Bouvard’s place as the most esteemed painters of the Venetian genre.
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