Profile of Gustave Courbet
Courbet led the realist movement with both his
Hello, I'm Milo for About.com, and today we are talking about Gustave Courbet.A 19th-century French painter that led the realist movement, Courbet has an important place in 19th century French painting, as he was an innovator who made bold social commentary in his work. Born June 10, 1819 in Ornans in the Franche-Comté region to an economically comfortable family, he received significant support from his father to become a painter. Courbet led the realist movement with both his art and vision. In his work this spirit is manifested through the rejection of Romantic subjectivism and in its stead favored realism -- the accurate and objective description of the ordinary, observable world. He saw his duty as an artist to portray the truth. Courbet rebelled against the status quo of romanticism and so tended to be either loved or hated.He said, "I am 50 years old and I have always lived in freedom; let me end my life free; when I am dead let this be said of me: 'He belonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to no academy, least of all to any regime except the regime of liberty." He painted what he saw around him such as everyday people, animals, fruit, flowers, and landscapes. As a younger man his palette was dark and as he got older the colors became warmer and brighter. He was also greatly admired for his technical abilities, able to paint as smoothly as if painting with enamel and as thick and rough as to imitate a corrugated surface.One of Courbet's most important works is "Burial at Ornans," a piece portraying an event which he witnessed in September 1848. This painting of the funeral of his great uncle became the first masterpiece in the Realist style. Courbet associated his ideas of realism in art with anarchism, and overtly promoted democratic and socialist ideas.Courbet influenced a number of artists to follow; his democratic point of view democratic revolutionized Western Art and paved the way for other modern movements, such as Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. For more helpful, interesting, and insightful information on art history, check us out at About.com.