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GUSTAVE COURBET: 1819-1877 The Realist Manifesto

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GUSTAVE COURBET: 1819-1877 The Realist Manifesto

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GUSTAVE COURBET: 1819-1877
The Realist Manifesto Gustave Courbet, leader and artistic embodiment othe Realist movement, had attracted scandal and controverssince exhibitinhis ianticBurial at Ornansand Stone-Breakersaintat the Salon o1850-1851. Courbet's determination to unelevated, amiliarsub ectsre erablthose romaround his native villa e o Ornans in the Franche-Comtein a broad straiht orward manner, on therand scale hitherto reservedor historical or reli iousaintin , was immediatele uated with social anarchand oliticalrevolution bublic and critics durinthe eriodo conservative reactionollowin thedown all othe 1848 RevolutionarGovernment.When Courbet's ma or works, theBurial at Ornansaintedand the newlArtist's Studiouriatedected bthe urwere reosition o1855, an ino theUniversal Ex Courbet withdrew the elevenictures that thehad acce ted and had his own exhibition buildinconstructed on the Avenue Montai ne, where, with customar bravado, he held a one-man show in com etition with the oicial international exhibition.The so-called "Realist Mani esto," reminiscent othe oliticalmani estoes othis storm eriodboth in its aressive tone and in its concise settin- orth oa roram, was actuallthe introduction to the Cataloue oCourbet's rivateexhibition. Accordin tosome authorities, Courbet's ideas wereut into coherentorm bthe realist writer and critic Cham -leur see. 36 to 45, Courbet's staunchest supporter and initiator of the "bataille realiste."The title of Realist was thrust uon meust as the title of Romantic was imosed u on the men of 1830. Titles have neveriven a true idea of thin s: if it were otherwise, the works would be unnecessar. Without exandin onthe reateror lesser accuracof a name which nobod, I should hoe, can reallbe exected to understand, I will limit m self to a few words of elucidation in order to cut short the misunderstandins. I have studiedoutside of ans stem and withoutre udicethe art of the ancients and the art of the moderns. I no more wanted to imitate the one than to co theother; nor, furthermore, was it mintention to attain the trivialoal ofart or art's sake.No! I siml wantedto draw forth from a comlete acuaintance with tradition the reasoned and indeendent consciousness of mown individualit. To know in order to be able to create, that was midea. To be in aosition to translate the customsthe ideasthe aearance of me ochaccordin tom own estimation; to be not onla ainter,but a man as well; in short, to create livin artthis is my goal. Art Cannot Be TaughtWhen, in 1861, Courbet received aetition roma rou odissatis ied Ecole des Beaux-Arts students reuestin himto oen a studio and teach them the theorand ractice oRealism, the artist, who had alwas re ected academic traininhimsel , was at irstreluctant. But he then decided to oen an unorthodox, democratic atelier, where an atmoshere omutual aid and eualit wouldrei namon thestudents and their teacher and where the models were to include not onlthe usual nudes, but an ox, a horse, and a deerresumabl stued aswell.Courbet exlained hisosition in an oen letter to his students, dated December 25, 1861, which appeared in theCourrier du dimanche.His ideas about the
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