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After losing three of his five children to health issues, as well as his wife, Nelly Monchablon, Bouguereau felt the pain of grief and translated it into many paintings, like Pieta. In Compassion!, the artist also interprets the tragic quality of a significant loss, although it is not a specific reference to a passage from the Bible. The artwork shows Jesus Christ hung on the cross, while an older man is standing by him carrying a large cross. This man can be interpreted as a representation of the humankind as a whole, as he hugs the fragile body of Christ.

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