And this long tour of lovely women and sentimental girls brings me back to one of my favorite subjects: what is art, anyway, and what is it supposed to do that Bouguereau did not? Even as I enjoy these paintings and admire Bouguereau's skill, I realize that there is something lacking here. This is not the sort of art that stretches our minds, challenges our assumptions, or evokes any emotions beyond those inspired by photographs of cute kittens. It does not even make me wonder what these people were like, as any really fine portrait does. It does not contain striking images that linger long in our minds. It's nice, even lovely, but that's about it. And yet I would take these paintings over most of the social commentaries, radical experiments, facings down of the abyss, existential soul wrestling, bold statements of the human condition in the machine age, and so on that the modern age has thrown up.
I guess I'm just like that.