Gustave Corbet Essay Research Paper Gustave Courbet

Gustave Corbet Essay, Research Paper

Gustave Courbet was born in 1819 to a farming family in Ornans, France. He was on his way in 1841 to Paris to study law. He than changed his mind and began studying art and painting. He learned to paint by copying pieces of master artists. Courbet started and dominated the French movement toward realism. This was a different type of art to many. The viewers were used to seeing pretty pictures that made life look better than it was. Courbet on the other hand portrayed real life, ordinary people and places. After years of studying in 1848 a political revolution in France foreshadowed a revolution in art, as people in the arts became more open to new ideas. Courbet’s early work was then exhibited successfully in 1849. Later that year he visited the countryside and produced one of his greatest paintings The stone Breakers . This picture was unlike the romantic pictures of the day because it showed peasants in realistic settings instead of the rich glamorized situations. Courbet then went to Germany in 1856. By 1859 he became the leader of the new generation of the French realist movement. By this time Courbet s painting style was fully developed, marked by technical mastery, a bold and limited palette, and compositional simplicity. He painted a variety of subjects such as Portraits, sensuous female nudes but, most of all scenes of nature. In his paintings he used techniques of impasto which means to use thick layers of paint, often applied with a palette knife. This technique was used mostly in landscape and marine scenes He painted a series of seascapes with changing storm clouds. That particular series had a great influence on the impressionist painters. In about 1871 Courbet took part in some revolutionary activities for which he was imprisoned for six months. He was also fined more than he could pay, so he fled to Switzerland where he died in 1877.


Today Realism, in visual representation, most often implies an uninflected, basically banal relationship between the artist and the visual facts that lie before him. It is assumed that the effort of a Realist painter is to sharpen his skills of observation and transcription of the things of the measurable world, minimizing the role of mind and feeling. Many artists were condemned for appearing too factual.

Realism is not a style but a state of mind. The realist is first empiricists who want to perceive, comprehend, and explain the things and events of the nominal world. He or she may wish to be aligned with one or more philosophical or theoretical positions, but this is not necessary. Seeing and perceiving the appearance of things and then expressing what has been observed are at the heart of the realist approach to art. For the realist the subjects of his work are of primary importance. At the core of the processing the problem of translating perception into expression and the essence of the solution is drawing. Drawing provides the most intimate access we have to the artist s mind, eye and hand. No two individuals will perceive the same thing in the same way. No two artists, no matter how much they may share a philosophy or an ideology, will represent their perception the same manner in their drawings. Drawings are as individual as handwriting or fingerprints.


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