La Naissance de Vénus
La Naissance de Vénus (“The Birth of Venus”) — Alexandre Cabanel, 1863.
So remember what I said about the Academy’s values and style? This is it right here, in a nutshell: soft tones, mythological nudes, everything airbrushed and idealised. Cabanel was very good at the so-called Academic Style, it paid well, and he was famous. In addition, he was a Big Man in the Academy salons, and a sworn enemy of Manet, Courbet, the Impressionists, and others trying to bring fresh ideas to an increasingly stale status quo.