Gustave Courbet (born June 10, 1819 – died December 31, 1877) is a 19th century French artist, a lover of underlined naturalism, who outraged his contemporaries with the detail of everyday scenes. The work of Gustave Courbet is considered the final stage of romanticism and the transition to realism.
Gustave Courbet rejected any manifestation of fantasy, demanded that his students abandon imitation and look for their own path in the depiction of reality. The painter left behind a huge number of works. Some of them were seen by the general public only 120 years after his death.
Gustave Courbet was born on June 10, 1819, in the tiny town of Ornand in eastern France. His father was engaged in winemaking, but for his son he saw the path of a lawyer. When the boy was 12 years old, he was sent to seminary. The future artist did not want to obey strict rules, studied poorly, did not even develop a good handwriting. This did not stop his father from sending him to the Royal College of Besançon. Studying law was the reason for the twenty-year-old Gustave Courbet to leave for Paris. Here he first of all got acquainted with the Louvre art collection in detail, made numerous sketches and sketches. The young man was greatly impressed by the gloomy tones of the Dutch and Spanish paintings.
Gustave Courbet went to study with the artist of German-Russian origin, Karl Karlovich Steuben (Charles de Steuben).
But the dominance of academism forced the young man to abandon formal education. Impressed by the work of Frans Hals and Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, he decided that it was necessary to portray the surrounding reality frankly and without embellishment. During the 1840s, Gustave Courbet traveled to the Netherlands and Belgium. Returning to Paris, he communicated only with artists and writers of the realistic direction.
At World Exhibitions, the jury often rejected paintings by Gustave Courbet. In 1855, irritated by the rejection of his work, he organized the “Pavilion of Realism”, where he presented forty of his works and the “Manifesto of Realism”. The audience did not like it, but the artist was praised by Eugene Delacroix and Charles Baudelaire. Gustave Courbet sincerely hated those who did not accept his views. He refused to participate in the Paris Salons, arranged his own shows. In 1871, the painter fiercely supported the next Paris commune, taking on the duties of the Commissioner for Culture.
His dream came true: he ordered the demolition of the Vendome column.
The Paris commune did not last even three months. Gustave Courbet ended up in prison, from where he came out only on March 2, 1872. The new authorities decided to restore the column with the money of the one who destroyed it. The heavy fine was allowed to be paid in annual installments of ten thousand francs. Gustave Courbet declared himself bankrupt and left for Switzerland, where he spent the last years of his life. They say that he did not know the measure in anything: he drank a lot, ate even more, made connections with women, behaved arrogantly, which even pushed away fans. He stated that he would not return to France until an amnesty was announced. But, most likely, he was stopped by a huge monetary debt.
On January 1, 1878, Gustave Courbet was obliged to send the first installment, but the day before, on December 31, 1877, the artist died of cirrhosis of the liver.