is generally recognized as the leader of the French Realist movement.
Courbet attempted to show his political leanings through his choice
of lifestyle and the subjects of his paintings.
life as a bohemian demonstrated his unglamorous view of the world.
- Courbet painted
ordinary people and places to portray the French people as a political
self portrait, The Wounded Man, painted in 1855,
shows a Christ-like figure who has presumably sacrificed
his life for a cause. Courbet sacrificed his comfortable
bourgeoisie lifestyle to live like a bohemian in Paris.
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Life: The Artist's Studio
Courbet was born into a wealthy bourgeoisie family in 1819.
In 1841, Courbet left the countryside where he grew up to
study law in Paris. However, this is where he discovered
the joy of painting, and soon all interest in the law was
gone. Courbet lived a Bohemian lifestyle, sacrificing many
bourgeoisie comforts to paint in a creative environment.
Painter's Studio is
an allegory of Courbet's life, bringing together
the different people he encountered. The painting
is also a picture of the ages of man; it represents
all stages of life, from the child at his mother's
breast to the gravedigger in the background. In
The Painter's Studio, Courbet also portrays
representatives of society's upper, middle, and
courtesy of www.ibiblio.org
Stone Breakers: Courbet's
of Courbet's paintings focus on everyday people and places in daily
French life. Courbet painted these ordinary people in an attempt
to portray the French people as a political entity. In this way
Courbet's republicanism showed through in his work. Courbet truthfully
portrayed ordinary people and places, leaving out the glamour that
most French painters at that time added to their works. Because
of this, Courbet became known as the leader of the Realist movement.
Stone Breakers courtesy
Stone Breakers, painted in 1849, depicts two ordinary
peasant workers. Courbet painted without any apparent sentiment;
instead, he let the image of the two men, one too young
for hard labor and the other too old, express the feelings
of hardship and exhaustion that he was trying to portray.
Courbet shows sympathy for the workers and disgust for the
upper class by painting these men with a dignity all their