Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Self-Portrait (The Desperate Man) (ca. 1845)

Gustave Courbet: Self-Portrait (The Desperate Man)

This is one of those works that confirms my view that Courbet was one of the most creative and inventive painters of 19th century France. Other artists' self-portraits (we'll see one later this week) were usually sedate, matter-of-fact, and perhaps somewhat pompous; only Courbet would come up with something like this. And it was not his only unusual self-portrait, as we shall see...
“…in our so very civilized society it is necessary for me to live the life of a savage. I must be free even of governments. The people have my sympathies, I must address myself to them directly.”
              – Gustave Courbet, 1850

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