El Taller Del Pintor Gustave Courbet Analysis Essay

Sempre polèmic i políticament compromès, els quadres del pintor realista Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) van escandalitzar els seus contemporanis per la seva manera de representar la realitat tal com era, sense la necessitat de sotmetre-la a l’ordre intel·lectual del pintor. En aquest sentit, el monumental L’Atelier du peintre (El taller del pintor) de 1855 és una obra moderna i revolucionària a la vegada que polèmica. El llenç és considerat un gran model artístic, representatiu no solament de l’obra de Courbet sinó del moviment realista en el seu conjunt.

“El món ve al meu estudi perquè jo el retrati” afirmava l’artista. Així, ens hem de traslladar cap a l’estudi de Courbet a París per trobar-nos amb el millor retrat possible de la societat parisenca de mitjans del segle XIX. Les seves amistats, els seus odis, els seus sentiments, els seus gustos personals… Tot s’amaga dins de la composició al voltant del mateix Courbet (centre de l’obra) i la seva model despullada (símbol de l’academicisme que el pintor rebutja frontalment).

Tots els personatges esdevenen representacions al·legòriques del món de l’artista. Protagonistes de tots els esglaons socials desfilen davant de l’artista, que s’envolta també de les seves amistats: el filòsof socialista Proudhom, el poeta Baudelaire, el seu marxant o l’escriptor George Sand. “És la història moral i física del meu taller […]. Són les persones que viuen de la vida, que viuen de la mort. És la societat en el seu cim, en la seva part baixa, en la seva part mitja. En una paraula, és la meva manera de veure a la societat, en els seus interessos i les seves passions.”, va sentenciar el pintor.

Malgrat la virulència retòrica que envolta el discurs de Courbet i el seu rebuig a tot allò que no representés la realitat, és evident que, almenys en aquest cas, la composició amaga un cert aire poètic i misteriós, un cert caràcter al·legòric de les fílies i les fòbies de l’artista, subratllat per la presència d’aquesta llum tamisada que no se sap d’on ve. En definitiva, Corbet havia pintat el gran manifest del realisme pictòric envoltant-lo de la simbologia que rebutjava. És això el que converteix el llenç en un element imprescindible per entendre tant el moviment en el seu conjunt com la seva obra en particular.

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Etiquetes: Art del segle XIX, Art realista, Gustave Courbet, Història de l'Art, Història del Món Contemporani, Imatges de París, Imatges del París Contemporani, París: Llums i Revolució, Pintura, Realisme, Segle XIX

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"The Artist's Studio" redirects here. For the community theatre in Fishers, Indiana, see The Artists' Studio.

The Painter's Studio: A real allegory summing up seven years of my artistic and moral life
French: L'Atelier du peintre. Allégorie réelle déterminant une phase de sept années de ma vie artistique et morale.
ArtistGustave Courbet
Year1855
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions361 cm × 598 cm (142 in × 235 in)
LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris

The Painter's Studio: A real allegory summing up seven years of my artistic and moral life (L'Atelier du peintre) is an 1855 oil on canvas painting by Gustave Courbet. It is located in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, France.

Courbet painted The Painter's Studio in Ornans, France in 1855.[1] "The world comes to be painted at my studio," said Courbet of the Realist work. The figures in the painting are allegorical representations of various influences on Courbet's artistic life. On the left are human figures from all levels of society. In the center, Courbet works on a landscape, while turned away from a nude model who is a symbol of Academic art. On the right are friends and associates of Courbet, mainly elite Parisian society figures, including Charles Baudelaire, Champfleury, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and Courbet's most prominent patron, Alfred Bruyas.[2]

The 1855 Paris World Fair's jury accepted eleven of Courbet's works for the Exposition Universelle, but The Painter's Studio was not among them. In an act of self promotion and defiance, Courbet, with the help of Alfred Bruyas, opened his own exhibition (The Pavilion of Realism) close to the official exposition; this was a forerunner of the various Salon des Refusés. Very little praise was forthcoming, and Eugène Delacroix was one of the few painters who supported the work. Of the painting, Courbet stated that The Painter's Studio "represents society at its best, its worst, and its average."[2]

Description[edit]

The painting was produced during Courbet's involvement with Realism in art in the mid-1800s. Due to the short amount of time Courbet had to paint it, many original plans for the work had to be discarded. The most noticeable example of this is in the background of the painting. On the back wall of the studio in the painting, Courbet planned to paint replications of other works of his. He ran out of time to paint these in their entirety, so he then covered them up with a reddish-brown preparation color, leaving the partially-finished paintings still relatively visible.[3]

[edit]

The left side of the painting depicts people of everyday life in France.[4] The Jewish man and the Irishwoman were seen on a trip Courbet took to London in 1848, according to a letter Courbet wrote to Champfleury detailing what the painting would look like.[5] There is also a "lay figure"/"crucified figure" directly to the left of Courbet's easel. This figure appears contorted and potentially mangled. Art historians Benedict Nicolson and Georges Riat both interpret this figure as a symbol of the "death" of the art of the Royal Academy of Art in France.[6][7]

Center[edit]

The center of the painting depicts Courbet painting a landscape, a nude female figure, a young boy, and a white cat. On his canvas, Courbet paints the Loue River valley. This valley in the Franche-Comté region of France is a tribute to Courbet's homeland of Ornans, France.[8] The female figure is based on an 1854 photograph by J. V. de Villeneuve and has been interpreted as a representation of the art of the Academy or as Courbet's Muse for Realism.[9]

[edit]

The right side of the painting depicts a large number of Paris elites, including friends of the artist. These are figures who played a role in the development of Courbet's career as an artist, or who inspired him in some way. Portrayals included on this side of the painting include Alfred Bruyas (a patron of Courbet), Champfleury, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Charles Baudelaire, and a wealthy pair of art collectors, among other prominent society figures.[10] A majority of these portraits were copied from previous portraits or from photographs, since the painting was entirely made in Ornans but the subjects on this side of the painting resided in Paris. For example, the portrait of Charles Baudelaire was directly copied from Courbet's 1847 portrait of the writer.[11] Courbet was in written correspondence with Champfleury in regards to this painting (from which much of the interpretation of The Painter's Studio is derived) and requested a photograph of Proudhon, the philosopher and anarchist, so that he could be included in the painting. It is the photograph Courbet received from Champfleury on which Proudhon's portrait is based.

Interpretations[edit]

  • The meaning of the oxymoron "real allegory" in the subtitle of the painting, as well as Courbet's intent in conjuring this phrase, is debated.
  • Courbet chose to paint the Loué River Valley on his canvas-within-a-canvas as an act of defiant provincialism. He sought to bring a symbol of his home in the Doubs department of the Franche-Comté region of France straight into the heart of Paris and the eyes of Paris' socialite art viewers and collectors.[8]
  • The skull that rests on a copy of the Journal des débats is a symbol of the death of the art of the Academy.[5]
  • The cluster of items at the foot of the hunter (on the left), including a guitar, a dagger, a plumed hat, and a buckled shoe, is a symbol of the death of the Romantic art movement. It could be a symbol of the death of Romanticism due to the rising popularity of Realism, or a symbol of the death of Romanticism in Courbet's own oeuvre.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^Riat (2008), p. 93
  2. ^ abNicolson (1973), p. 60
  3. ^"Gustave Courbet (1819–1877)", The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accessed September 18, 2015.
  4. ^"Gustave Courbet, The Artist's Studio", Musée d'Orsay, accessed September 18, 2015.
  5. ^ abcNicolson (1973), pp. 23–33
  6. ^Nicolson (1973), pp. 23, 36
  7. ^Riat (2008), p. 94
  8. ^ abNicolson (1973), p. 20
  9. ^Nicolson (1973), p. 40
  10. ^Nicolson (1973), pp. 52–59
  11. ^Nicolson (1973), p. 47

Bibliography

  • Nicolson, Benedict (1973). Courbet: The Studio of the Painter. London: Allen Lane. 
  • Riat, Georges (2008). Gustave Courbet. Translated by Michael Locey. New York: Park Stone Press International. pp. 93–107. 

External links[edit]

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