The winning spirit of our modern painting derives from Courbet. He was the individualist with strong elbows (George W. Chrystal, 1908). Courbet began the pragmatist movement when he exhibited his own paintings. By 1850 Romantic painting had become remarkably affluent. Courbet’s painting based around what he witnessed at the funeral of his grand uncle became the first masterwork in the Realist style. People were uninterested with romantic and classical paintings. There was a strong desire among many people for a unique painting, which sensibly portrayed the real world.
When Courbet attended the funeral of his great uncle at Ornans, He was inspired and later painted the massive canvas, Burial at Ornans. It was one of the exceptional subjects in art illustrates an event with funerals. For his painting, he picked people as a model who had been to the funeral and created the new style. It leaves an impression of realistic style at the people of Ornans (Rubin 1997). People have mostly negative ambience with death and dying. Gustave Courbet’s underlying principle behind creation of such realistic painting is to utilize artistic talent as a way toward self-awareness and to transform the customs, the ideas.
Courbet did not want to commune any religious message with his work. Courbet viewed this work as not just a funeral for his uncle, but in authentic truth a funeral for romanticism as a style (Rubin, 1977). Courbet’s paintings are generally viewed as realist one, increasingly concentrating on innocuous landscapes and seascapes for a bourgeois clientele. He had become extremely prominent during 1870 for his unique work. He captured middleclass marketplace by producing his painting on large scale.
Forgers also started flooding the market with fake ones. In the United States, Courbet’s art was exhibited more than a dozen times by the mid-1870. The results were mixed: sometimes he churned it out; sometimes he didn’t (New York Times). Courbet pushed towards a realistic style and created different, rare look as compared to other paintings in general like classical or romantic. Gustave Courbet painted in a way, which allowed artists to paint the world around them as they saw it, rather than making it complicated to understand.
Courbet established the right of the artist to be contemporary and unconventional, to be free from the need of adding an elevating sentiment or an imposed message to the representation of realism (Nochlin 1976). Courbet’s painting of a young man and an old man breaking stones was a work of pragmatism which still had a trace of romanticism. He depicted the idea and the event without romanticizing it, just showing the workers engaged in their daily activity (Kleiner 2001). “I am above all a total realist,” he confessed on one of his many proclamations (Arthur C. Danto, 1989).
1) Arthur C. Danto; Courbet; Magazine Title: The Nation. Volume: 248. Issue: 3. Publication Date: January 23, 1989. Page Number: 97. 2) George W. Chrystal, Julius Meier-Graefe, Florence Simmonds; Modern Art: Being a Contribution to a New System of Aesthetics. Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year: 1908. Page Number: 219. 3) Kleiner, F. et al; Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. Eleventh Edition. Harcourt, Inc. , Orlando, Florida; 2001. 4) Nochlin, L. Gustave Courbet: A Study of Style and Society. Garland Publishing Inc. , New York; 1976. 5) Rubin, J. Courbet. Phaidon Press, London. 1997.