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REALISM THE ANALYSIS OF A PAINTING BY COURBET

“LANDSCAPE 1876” Truth & Accuracy

Around the 1850’s there was a

Landscapes were still a popular

revolt against all things valued by

subject matter for the Realist artists

the Romantic Artist due to the birth

but they were strictly of what the

of Realism. Realist rejected the

artists observed with no alterations

exaggeration of emotionalism and

to colors, setting or any addition or

the imagination, and valued truth

subtraction to the subject matter.

and accuracy. The artists of this era

Courbet’s 1876 “Landscape”

remained “true to life” and made

strongly demonstrates the values of

their

truth and

observations

accuracy of

directly from

the Realist

nature or their

artist. The

subject matter.

painting is

They did not

composed of

allow anything

a beach

to be put into a

setting, and

piece of

could be

artwork that

taking place

wasn’t directly

at either the

there. The embrace of the working

break of dawn or the setting of the

class and peasants became the

sun to another night. At the

figures in art along with everyday

foreground of the painting one can

situations, instead of gods and

see the white tips of calm waves

situations that did not accrue. The

caressing the sand. In the horizon

father of direct movement is

there is the faint image of a sail boat,

Gaustave Courbet (1819-1877). The

and the clouds gradually disperse as

French painter challenged the

the sky rises. At first admiration, the

conventional by using real life as his

eye is drawn to the center of the

subject matter along with the

painting where the sun is shining

combination of large scale paintings.

through and creating the sky to be

This simple style of popular imagery

highlighted with the rays or a deep

began a movement for artists.

yellow. It then glances over the [Pick the date] [Edition 1, Volume 1]

“Painting is the representation of visible forms. The essence of realism is its negation of the ideal.”

- Courbet


THE ANALYSIS OF A PAINTING BY COURBET

upper half of the painting where the

the greens, blues, grays and orange

horizon demonstrates great talent.

clouds are placed as the sun rays rise

the artist, knowingly or not, created

The use of perspective permits the

to the infinite sky. The eye of the

a way for the viewer to see the

admirer to feel, when looking at the

admirer then drops down to the

artwork in different horizontal parts.

work of art, that they are present in

shoreline and the parallel horizon

At first glance of Courbet’s piece one

this real moment captured by

with the faint image of a sail boat.

cannot help but feel the sublime of

Courbet. Lastly, the various hues

Unity and Balance play a large role

the sunset. Due to the movement

and shades used throughout the

in the overall effeteness of an

being about the actual, the painting

painting corresponds to the overall

artwork. Considering that, the

gives off the same effect as when one

effectiveness of the work.

natural source of light and main

is traveling back home at the end of

Throughout the painting, the source

focus of the painting is in the center

the work day and see the “breathe

of light, the setting/rising sun,

of the work, it demonstrates how

taking” sunset, but in a painting. As

highlights the clouds, sea and the

balanced the space is and that the

stated above, the contrast of dark

shoreline. With the use of different

light is the focus in the subject

and lighter shades creates multiple

hues of yellow, orange, green and

matter and not a certain cloud for

frame works horizontally across the

beige the image is even more

example. Regardless, that the

painting. This creates a different

realistic.

Realism Movement is about the

visual path the eye communicates

direct observation, the image is

with painting than at first

united by the colors and overall

admiration. The line in which the

aesthetically appealing; as well, I

subject matter. The faint figure of a

eye observes the painting

have a love for the beauty in

sailboat does not capture the

corresponds to the Realist

sunsets/rises. I choose this painting

viewer’s eye more than the white

Movement. Considering that, the

because when I first observed it I felt

tips of the waves caressing the

movement was about accuracy and

alone. I felt as if I was standing on a

shoreline. Along with unity, contrast

truth, the visual path the eye travels

sand dune that is overlooking this

between colors of the art work play a

throughout the work must be how

image, which is what realist were

role in the effectiveness as well. In

an individual would take in this

trying to demonstrate, the truth.

Courbet’s piece the colors used are

sunrise/sunset if they were

Degrading the Romanticism

harmonious with each other,

physically there. That being stated,

techniques and grasping truth and

considering that it is a true sunset

the eye sees the image as a whole

only creating pieces of art that were

one would expect so. The darker

then pays attention to all individual

direct observations of what were

shades of the clouds and sea

aspects of the painting. Such as the

before them Realism was born. Like

enhance the effect of the sunlight

source of light, clouds, sail boat, and

every era, it ends and the previous

and create that contrast and

shoreline. Form is an extremely

era revolts against the popular

distinction between the dark and

important factor during this era.

beliefs. However, Impressionism

light. As well the sun highlights

Since the goal was truth, form must

was a new and improved style and

clouds throughout the sky along

be used in order to give the full

technique to painting.

with tips of the uneven sea and

truth. In Courbet’s piece, the depth

waves. The use of contrast between

and perspective created with the

Personally I find this painting


The Analysis of a painting by Courbet

Written by Jessica Eve Shetler

RealismFinal