The Proposal

William Bouguereau French

Not on view

The motif of a young man at a window, wooing a woman at her spinning wheel, and the vaguely sixteenth-century German costumes and setting, led writers to associate this painting with the tragic story of Faust and Marguerite. The seduction of the innocent heroine by the wicked Faust was a popular pictorial subject in the nineteenth century, inspired by Goethe’s dramatic poem and its operatic staging by Charles Gounod. Regardless of the lovers’ identities, the lushly painted, romantic scene would have appealed to Bouguereau’s well-heeled clientele.

The Proposal, William Bouguereau (French, La Rochelle 1825–1905 La Rochelle), Oil on canvas

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