Their inspiration for the truth came from another rather less sophisticated individual. If Delacroix was France’s greatest romantic painter, then Gustave Courbet, who was born in 1819, was her most accomplished Realist.
The younger Courbet admired Delacroix and vica versa, but had no time for all the whimsical, make-believe and classical illusions found in paintings of the Romantic Period. He wanted to get real and paint ordinary subjects that the academy and polite society considered to be vulgar, like the poor.
Mind you, if they have the found the realism of a painting featuring a peasant on a pathway crude, they would’ve choked on their fine wine and they seem Courbet’s treatment of another subject.
His painting The Origin of the World, from 1866, is one of the most notorious works in Art History. Famed for it’s blunt, no holds barred, portrayal of a naked female torso shown only from breast to thigh with legs wide open and cropped by Courbet to achieve maximum pornographic effect.
It is a sexually frank picture that is not for the squeamish now, back then it was for private eyes only. In fact it remained that way for over 100 years until 1988 when it was shown for the first time in a public exhibition, you can see it now at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.
Courbet delighted in his reputation as a rough, tough, hard drinking artist with a fighter’s taste for conflict. He was a man of the people, who knew that his popularity among his fellow countrymen gave him a very large stick with which to beat and prod the establishment.
Are You Looking At….some of the blog is directly taken from this fantastic book.