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Jean DÊsirÊ Gustave Courbet

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Jean DÊsirÊ Gustave Courbet

Publié par :
Ajouté le : 21 juillet 2011
Lecture(s) : 158
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Jean Désiré
Gustave Courbet
(1819-1877)
Best known as an innovator in
Realism
Courbet was a
painter of figurative compositions, landscapes and
seascapes. He also worked with social issues, and
addressed peasantry and the grave working conditions of
the poor. Courbet believed the Realist artist's mission
was the pursuit of truth, which would help erase social
contradictions and imbalances.
For Courbet realism dealt not with the perfection of line and form, but entailed
spontaneous and rough handling of paint, suggesting direct observation by the
artist while portraying the irregularities in nature. He depicted the harshness in
life, and in so doing, challenged contemporary academic ideas of art, which
brought the criticism that he deliberately adopted a cult of ugliness.
One of Courbet's most important works is
Burial at Ornans
, a canvas recording
an event which he witnessed in September 1848. Courbet's painting of the
funeral of his grand uncle became the first masterpiece in the Realist style.
People who had attended the funeral were used as models for the painting.
Previously, models had been used as actors in historical narratives; here Courbet
said that he "painted the very people who had been present at the interment, all
the townspeople". The result is a realistic presentation of them, and of life, in
Ornans. The painting caused a fuss with critics and the public. It is an enormous
work, measuring 10 by 22 feet depicting a prosaic ritual on a scale which
previously would have been reserved for a religious or royal subject.
Eventually
the public grew more interested in the new Realist
approach, and the
lavish, decadent fantasy of Romanticism lost popularity. The artist well
understood the importance of this painting; as Courbet said: "The Burial at
Ornans was in reality the burial of Romanticism."
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