"The Artist's Studio" Introduction (03:15)
The Industrial Revolution generated wealth; art became fashionable in Paris. In 1855, the Salon de Bozar refused to exhibit Gustave Courbet's work that portrayed his vision of society. View a description of colleagues and social groups in the painting.
Provocative Artist (02:54)
"The Artist's Studio" is ordered like a day of judgment scene. Learn about Courbet's artistic development and view a series of self portraits. In Paris, he was criticized for breaking the rules of academic painting in works like "A Burial at Ornans" that overturned the hierarchy of genre.
All Inclusive Hierarchy of Genre (02:23)
The French Academy dictated that religious, mythological, and historical subjects should convey a moral message. "The Artist's Studio" included each level of the hierarchy through historical, religious, daily life, landscape, allegorical, animal, and still life genre references in a composition reflecting seven years of Courbet's life.
Second Republic (03:08)
In 1848, the July Monarchy was overturned and a provisional government established. Courbet began "Firemen Running to a Fire" portraying Louis Napoleon Bonaparte saving the people, but the leader established an authoritarian regime. A Republican, Courbet was considered a rebel but refused to fight.
Committed Artist (03:06)
Courbet invited bourgeois Parisians, artists, and intellectuals to parties at his studio. His portraits were popular, but works like "Bathers" were criticized for being painted in a "fat, dirty" way. Hear a description of his unorthodox working style.
Courbet revolutionized painting but resisted artistic labeling; hear his goals for creating art. Under a deadline, he used existing portraits to paint figures in "The Artist's Studio." Learn about Alfred Bruyas' role in the work.
Pavilion of Realism (02:08)
Courbet used photography to prepare the scene for "The Artist's Studio." X-ray analysis reveals last minute changes. Furious at its rejection at the World's Fair, he funded his own exhibition of forty works.
Refused Masterpiece (02:53)
Salon judges may have rejected "The Artist's Studio" for its size, or for political reasons. Republicans such as socialist politician Pierre-Joseph Proudhon were featured. Interpretations of figures to Courbet's left have been debated.
Courbet's Mystery (01:47)
Napoleon III is undoubtedly the gamekeeper, but censorship prevented his identification. A political analysis would go beyond the artist's poetic intentions for the painting; he intended for viewers to speculate about its subjects.
Credits: The Artist's Studio (1855) By Gustave Courbet: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings (00:37)
Credits: The Artist's Studio (1855) By Gustave Courbet: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings
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