Soap Bubbles

Thomas Couture French

Not on view

A schoolboy, identifiable by the books on the desk, contemplates soap bubbles, traditional symbols of the transience of life. A wilting laurel wreath on the wall behind him suggests the fleeting nature of praise and honors. The word "immortalité," inscribed on the paper inserted in the mirror, reinforces the painting’s allegorical content.

Couture was an influential teacher known for his opposition to strict academic instruction. Among his pupils was Manet, who in 1867 painted his own, more naturalistic, version of this subject (Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon).

Soap Bubbles, Thomas Couture (French, Senlis 1815–1879 Villiers-le-Bel), Oil on canvas

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