Once a poster boy for bourgeois bad taste, Bouguereau is starting to
look more and more radical — certainly more and more bizarre. 
The solidity of his angels here is uncanny.  The wings of angels
in art are often merely symbolic —
in this image they
seem like practical appendages, as necessary to flight as a bird's
wings.  They give these angels a monstrous quality, as though
they're the product of some unholy genetic experiment.  On the
other hand, it may be that the sight of real angels would produce the
same impression and that real angels, if photographed, would look exactly as
they do above.

For a lengthier meditation on the work of this extraordinary artist, go here:

Bouguereau and the Über-Photograph