Still Life: Fruit (1871-72) by Gustave Courbet

Still Life: Fruit - Gustave Courbet - 1871-72

Artwork Information

TitleStill Life: Fruit
ArtistGustave Courbet
MediumOil On Canvas
Dimensions23 1/4 x 28 3/8 in (59 x 72 cm)
Current LocationShelburne Museum, Vermont

About Still Life: Fruit

Gustave Courbet’s Still Life: Fruit series is a collection of paintings that he produced between 1871 and 1872. The paintings are representative of Realism, which was in sharp contrast to Classicism and Romanticism in the 19th century French painting. The heavily impastoed surfaces created with a palette knife has become a hallmark of Courbet’s style. Notably, this series marks his return to painting after the Franco-Prussian War when he had to face imprisonment, illness, and silence.

The paintings feature various fruits that include apples, pears, and pomegranates. They were done by the artist while recuperating from surgery at a clinic in Neuilly. Courbet’s use of lively colors makes each fruit come alive as they appear singular, sweet-smelling, and tactile – it affirms life rather than warns of death like some other still-life painters did back then. These magnificent apples serve as affirmations for self-love and pride for Courbet.

Courbet was known as an independent painter who confronted both academic painting norms (which views still life artforms as objects only fit for study) by bringing beauty into everyday objects such as fruits via his Realist approach to still life composition.

In conclusion, Gustave Courbet’s Still Life: Fruit continues to make an impressive statement today because it is evidence that realist art can explore ordinary subjects while celebrating color authenticity within them against traditional norms of academic depictions found more established during this period – the depiction portrays natural surroundings with its lush vividness without oversentimentality or theatrics compared with other styles popularized around him at that time.

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