William Bouguereau was a follower of classical art and had no wish for everything like novelty or the avant-garde. His sense of idealism was his guiding principle, regarding the ugly as worthless for representation. A skilled craftsman and master of human anatomy, he utilized a delicate palette and glorious light to sensitively capture nuances of personality and mood, vibrantly bringing the soul and spirit of his subjects to life. Bouguereau has left a large number of works and he is undoubtedly a key figure in 19th century French art. Although his work was widely collected by the English and more especially by the Americans in his lifetime, Bouguereau’s reputation in France was more indistinct—indeed quite low—in his later years. He remained a hard supporter of the academic training system at a time when it was criticized for stifling originality and nurturing mediocrity.