Public Domain Photo: The First Mourning (Premier Deuil), an oil on canvas painting of dimensions 203 cm x 252 cm (appx 80 x 99 inches) by French painter William Bouguereau, National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires.
The oil painting ‘The First Mourning’ (1888) is acclaimed to be one of the best paintings by the traditionalist French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905), whose realist genre of creations and a host of other paintings depicting mythological and Biblical characters and scenes became very popular with the aristocracy and the rich art patrons of his times.
His interpretations of classical themes in a photo-realistic style were heavily influenced by the beauty of feminine human body. In later years, Bouguereau seemed to have been given much less appreciation compared to the Impressionists.
The theme of the painting features the moment when Adam and Eve found their son Abel, who was murdered by his elder brother Cain, whom some writers interpret literally as the son of the serpent (evil) in the Garden of Eden.
According to the Bible, it was the first death of a human being, and hence it is considered the first murder and ‘The First Mourning’ (the work is titled ‘Premier Deuil’ in French). Abel is also considered the first innocent victim and the first martyr while Cain is considered the first murderer by many writers.
The First Mourning is currently displayed at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.