Our visitors have overwhelmingly voted in favour of William Bouguereau as the most popular artist in the ARC Museum, followed by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Jean-Léon Gérôme, also Academic masters. Bouguereau received more than three times the hits (or pages viewed) of the highest ranking Old Master, Raphael; more even than Leonardo da Vinci, in a year when there has been a resurgence of popular interest in his life and work. The top three ranking artists are not Impressionists like Monet, Renoir, or Degas but three of the greatest Academic painters of the 19th century. Conventional wisdom has it that the Impressionists are the most well-known and loved artists of the 19th century. These results suggest that preferences are changing.
The ARC staff believes that this result is a sign that people know quality when they see it, irrespective of labels. As our Chairman put it, 'If you build it, they will come.' We built the largest collection of high-quality, high-resolution images devoted to great academically-trained artists - such as Bouguereau, Gérôme, and Waterhouse - and these statistics indicate their popularity with our viewers. An extraordinary result when considering that art history students can still graduate today without ever being exposed to the works of the major 19th century Academic artists.
Aside from celebrating the popular success of these artists, we hope that this list of the 225 most visited artist galleries on ARC will inspire our visitors to investigate other Masters in our collection they may yet have to enjoy.