A painting with immense presence, combining Neoclassical elements with an elegant figurative photo-realism. Angels serenading the Virgin and child to sleep situates the visitation firmly in the late-nineteenth century, as the winged beings play the Violin and Lute before the sleeping Christ.
The painting is characteristic of Bouguereau's ability to play with Biblical and mythological themes whilst maintaining his respectability in the illustrious circle of the French Academy. A truly self-made man, Bouguereau paid his way through the Ecole des Beaux-Arts by painting designs for jam jars and colouring labels for a local grocer.
Traversing the museums that housed the great masters of Renaissance classicalism, the artist would create reproductions of the paintings from memory in his evenings. Despite being reviled by the avant-garde of his day, Bouguereau's work was accepted with utter praise and admiration, particularly in light of his ability to integrate contemporary themes alongside mythological tales.