Gustave Courbet - The artists studiooil on canvas, Oil on canvas, ca. 1854 / 1855,, 361 x 598 cm, Musée d'Orsay in Paris

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Description and interpretation of the famous painting 'The artists studio' by Gustave Courbet!

Gustave Courbet - The artist's studio

Gustave Courbet allegedly painted the oil painting "Atelier des Künstlers" in only six weeks. Several people can be seen in one interior. In the middle of the picture a man sits and captures a landscape on a large canvas. Behind him stands a naked woman holding a white sheet in front of her breast. A boy stands next to the artist and watches him. A cat is playing on the floor. The group of people moves into the centre of the picture through position, colour division and light-dark contrast. Some people stand in the right corner of the picture and look attentively at the central group of pictures. A man looks into a book; a couple flirts with each other. At the left edge of the picture there is another group of people, most of whom are sitting. People seem to be introverted and pay little attention to the painter. A dog lives with the group; instruments lie on the floor. In the background a male nude can be seen. Like the full title of the work "L'Atelier du peintre. Allégorie réelle déterminant une phase de sept années de ma vie artistique et morale", the scene is Courbet's studio as his artistic creation. Courbet describes the painting as an "allegory". In the painting, the artist captures personalities who have accompanied him during seven years of his artistic life.

Among the group of people to the right are Courbet's friends, collaborators and art lovers - including the bearded profile of patron Alfred Bruyas or philosopher Proudhon. The art critic Champfleury sits on the stool and Baudelaire studies the book. While the nobly dressed couple symbolizes art lovers in general, the lovers stand for free love. To the left of the central picture, the contrast is illustrated - everyday life contrasts with the art world. The images depict misery, poverty, wealth and exploitation by a clergyman, a merchant, a hunter (who is similar to Napoleon III), a worker and a beggar. The naked man in the semi-darkness is a mannequin with limbs. It was used to study postures and proportions. It is no coincidence that the figure is banished from the painter's field of vision. For Courbet it represented the unrealistic tradition of the art academies. He denounced classical education. This statement is supported by the female nude in the centre of the picture. Contemporaries claim that this is an allegory for the muse of truth. The depicted artist is, of course, none other than Courbet himself, although it remains unclear who the persons in his immediate vicinity are. For the artist did not have a family.

The entire oil painting is a manifesto picture. Courbet himself assumes the position of a mediator between the everyday world and the art world. This illustrates the social function of an artist. Courbet's size gives his painting the status and format of a historical painting. He himself said: "The world comes into my studio to be painted" On the one hand the figures are life-size, on the other hand the painting was rejected for the 1855 World Exhibition because of this. Courbet then withdrew his entire oeuvre from the event and organized his own parallel exhibition in the immediate vicinity in the "Pavilion of Realism".

© the artinspector / frauke maria petry