Gustave Courbet – Biography of Gustave Courbet


The French painter, founder and highest representative of realism named Gustave Courbet was born on June 10, 1819, in the city of Ornans, France. This man has studied in Besançon and then in Paris, around the 1840s, in order to undertake a career in Law, but then he has dedicated himself to painting. At this time he has awakened his passion for painting, which he learns by copying the masterpieces of the Louvre Museum.
After a few years, the French artist exhibits “Los Pedreros”, one of his first works being a crude representation of some workers repairing a road; but here he undoubtedly avoids the highly emotionally charged exotic element characteristic of the romantic tradition and neglects the compositional rules of academic painting.
What characterized this artist at this time was his enormous proportions that frightened his peers, as he did in “Burial in Ornans” in 1850, in which a frieze of poorly dressed peasants surrounds a tomb of great proportions . Soon after, a great challenge arrives at the conventions with his colossal painting called “The Artist’s Studio” created in 1855, which he subtitles “Royal Allegory of Seven Years of My Artistic Life.” In this work it is possible to make out, right in the center, his own portrait painting a landscape, with a child, a dog and a voluptuous naked woman, on the left, a group of characters with a bored air who manifestly ignore him, on the right , a multitude of friends full of life and enthusiasm admire his work.
Cpurbet followed by a provocative manifesto in which he has set out in detail his social and realistic creed on art and life, which has given him great popularity, and it is at that time that his style suddenly matures. This was characterized by a masterful technique, a limited palette, simple compositions, figures of solid and severe modeling and thick strokes of very pasted paint that he often applied with a spatula.
The painter defined himself as a radical man, both in politics and in painting, and it is for this reason that the artist was appointed by the revolutionary Paris Commune in 1871 as director of the city’s museums. But soon after, the man is falsely accused of having allowed the demolition of Napoleon’s triumphal column located in Place Vendôme, for which he has been imprisoned and sentenced to pay the repair, until 1873, the year in which it was Forced to expatriate, he moved to Switzerland and continued to paint there until his death, which arrived on December 31, 1877 in Verey.


  • (1841) L’embouchure de la Seine
  • (1842) The Man with the Black Dog
  • (1849) Portrait of the artist, called The Man with the Pipe
  • (1850) Burial at Ornans
  • (1850) The peasants of Flagey returning from the fair
  • (1853) The Bathers
  • (1854) Les Bords de la mer à Palavas
  • (1854) Les Cribleuses de blé
  • (1854) Good morning, Mr. Courbet!
  • (1855) The study
  • (1855) The painter’s workshop
  • (1856) The Young Ladies of the Banks of the Seine
  • (1858) La Mer à Palavas
  • (1864) Le Chêne de Flagey
  • (1864) The sources of the Loue
  • (1865) Pierre-Joseph Proudhon et ses enfants
  • (1866) La Femme au perroquet
  • (1866) L’Origine du monde
  • (1866) La Trombe
  • (1866) The dream
  • (1866) The consignment of roe deer in the Plaisir-Fontaine Doubs stream
  • (1868) l’Hiver
  • (1868) The Woman of the Wave
  • (1868) The fountain
  • (1869) La vague
  • (1869) Mer calme
  • (1870) The Stormy Sea
  • (1871) Apples and pomegranates in a glass
  • (1874) Self-portrait in Sainte-Pélagie