William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905) Study of Venus for “Apollo and the Muses in Olympus,” c. 1867
Graphite with touches of white chalk on beige wove paper
18 7/16 x 12 in. (46.8 x 30.5 cm)
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.1578
This study for one of the figures in the ceiling of the Grand Théâtre in Bordeaux embodies the academic principles of proportion and finish to which Bouguereau fully subscribed. The figure of Venus accords precisely with the classical ratio of a body exactly seven times the length of its head.