Segments in this Video

"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.

Realism (03:35)

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

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

The Artist's Studio (1855) By Gustave Courbet: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings

Part of the Series : Smart Secrets of Great Paintings
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $194.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



Paris shone brightly in the second half of the 19th century, with its fashionable restaurants, cabarets and theatres, which provided the spectacle of a carefree society. The Industrial Revolution produced wealth, and fortunes were amassed and lost. Gustave Courbet's work “The Artist’s Studio” is politically involved and provocative, revealing his support for revolutionary movements and condemning Napoleon III's authoritarian regime. In addition to its critical dimension, the canvas has an air of mystery, and depicts contradictions. This film examines Courbet’s artistic development, contributions to Realism, challenge to the hierarchy of genre, and response to social and political events of his time.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL94721

ISBN: 978-1-68272-096-7

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.