“PLEASANT BURDEN” – artistic tribute to William Adolphe Bouguereau

Like many who enjoy art, I have favorite pieces from favorite artists that I wish I could own. Pieces that one could stare at for hours and never tire of the way they looked, or the the messages and meanings that are implied. 

A great example of this is an oil painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau entitled Pleasant Burden.  An image of the painting is embedded below.


So, like any new and lesser known artist who is enchanted by works of the great masters, I attempted to draw this famous oil painting in charcoal, carbon, and graphite. I have to admit though….it wasn’t easy.  It took me three attempts just to get the face of the young girl riding piggy back.

I wish I had taken photographs as it developed but sadly, that is often what happens when one gets in the “zone” and the right side of the brain takes over and leaves the left side behind. Time has no meaning when you get really involved in a piece that you are enjoying. Hunger and thirst don’t even cross your mind until you look up and realize you’ve been drawing for nearly fourteen hours straight and you swear that only a couple of hours have passed.

Below are a few close up images for you to see the details. I’m a stickler for the small details. One caveat though: the photographs do NOT do justice to the real drawing



There areas where I used graphite were in the face of the smallest girl and the neck of the older sister.  I combined graphite and some hard vine charcoal for shading in the dress of the little girl and to render some skin tones. The piece was drawn on Fabriano Artistico bright white 140 lb hot press watercolor paper.

I used carbon to render the skirt and blouse of the older sister, as well as her hair. The drawing took about 78 hours to complete but that includes the two previous attempts were I failed to adequately replicate the face of the little girl. Below is the final result.


SIZE: 22″ X 28″ (Currently with black matting, black metal framing and glass)

I am debating on whether to have this reproduced for purposes of selling prints. If I do, I will be offering this drawing in both a Limited Edition print and a fine art print. The original artist will be credited.  If you are interested in obtaining a print, please let me know through my CONTACT page.  The more that show interest, the greater chance of my decision to have this drawing reproduced.  My original is also for sale and if interested, please contact me.

Thank you for stopping by.




2 thoughts on ““PLEASANT BURDEN” – artistic tribute to William Adolphe Bouguereau

  1. Well done! I absolutely adore the artwork of Bouguereau. The peasants and the holy ones, not the nudes and nymphs.


Comments are closed.