Friday, March 4, 2016

Self-Portrait at Sainte-Pélagie (1872-73)

Gustave Courbet: Self-Portrait at Sainte-Pélagie

In 1871 Courbet’s involvement in politics reached its zenith with his participation in the Paris Commune–a series of events that barely register in his art, for the simple reason that he had more urgent things to do than paint during those dramatic months. But the fall of the commune led to a brief imprisonment (retrospectively depicted in Portrait de l’artiste à Sainte-Pélagie, in which his wistful gaze out the barred window oddly echoes his expression in La Curée, fifteen years earlier) and in 1873 to an unhappy, mostly unproductive exile in Switzerland that lasted until his death in 1877. [The Nation]

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