Head of a Woman with Flowers (1871) by Gustave Courbet

Head of a Woman with Flowers - Gustave Courbet - 1871

Artwork Information

TitleHead of a Woman with Flowers
ArtistGustave Courbet
Dimensions55.3 x 46.3 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, US

About Head of a Woman with Flowers

The artwork “Head of a Woman with Flowers” is an oil on canvas painting by Gustave Courbet, created in the year 1871. This piece, which adheres to the Realism art movement, measures 55.3 x 46.3 cm and belongs to the portrait genre. It is currently housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.

In this artwork, the viewer is presented with an intimate and detailed portrayal of a woman’s head, which is angled and seems to be gazing downward towards a book or page she is holding. Her hair is a mass of tousled curls, imbued with rich, warm tones that enliven the composition. The background features a bold assemblage of flowers, boasting a vivid spectrum of colors, from whites and yellows to pinks and reds. The flowers appear luxuriant and full-bodied, set against a dark, indistinct backdrop that accentuates their chromatic intensity.

One might note the tactile quality of the paintwork, common to Courbet’s style, which adds to the sense of realism and dimensionality. The juxtaposition between the soft and intricate nuances of the woman’s face, which exudes a sort of gentle concentration or contemplation, against the lively, almost wild, floral arrangement creates a harmonious balance within the piece. The signature of Gustave Courbet is visible in the lower right-hand corner, adding authenticity to the artwork and grounding it in its historical context.

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