The academicians in France worked in a laborious technique that translated into very high prices. Gérôme and Bouguereau catered to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who attended the Salons: the average-size crowd in the 1880s was forty thousand. That audience thrived on the escapist and historical fantasies that the Salon painters painted with superb skill and wonderful imagination.
(1800 - 1899)
Venus and other mildly erotic themes were especially favoured by academic painters and Salon visitors during the second half of the nineteenth century, when paintings of women bathing, harem scenes, and slave markets attracted vast crowds, entertained and titillated by what they saw.
contributed by Gifford, Katya