This 1871-72 oil on canvas painting by Gustave Courbet is entitled “Still Life with Apples and Pomegranate”. Measuring 61 x 44.5 cm, the Realist-style artwork is kept at the National Gallery in London, UK. The painting features a bowl of rich red apples and a single pomegranate resting on a table.
Courbet was an artist who gained notoriety for his role in the toppling of Vendóme Column in Paris in 1871, leading to his arrest and imprisonment. During this time, he produced several still-life paintings including this work which conveys the sensuality and physicality of fruit that were typical of French still-life photography during the mid-19th century.
Interestingly enough, “Still Life with Apples and Pomegranate” is one of only fifteen paintings by Courbet bearing the inscription “Ste Pélagie” which refers to the prison where he was detained following his arrest. Despite being imprisoned, Courbet continued to paint prolifically throughout his confinement producing some of his most notable works during this period. It’s worth noting that Courbet spent his last years in exile in Switzerland after fleeing France to avoid imprisonment following the fall of Napoleon III’s regime.