The Cellist, Self-Portrait is a painting by Gustave Courbet, a French artist known for his passion for music and contributions to Romanticism. This artwork was created in 1847 and serves as an emphatic response to the Romantic movement that the painter was interested in. The Cellist is part of Courbet’s contribution to the Salon of 1848 and belongs to a group of seven paintings and three drawings.
Courbet was a controversial figure during his time, primarily due to his erotic nude scenes from the 1860s. However, he was also known for his self-portraits that depicted himself as theatrical characters or showcased his interests and passions. The Cellist retains Courbet’s penchant for self-portraiture as it stands as a reflection of himself as a musician.
This artwork can be found in the Nationalmuseum located in Stockholm. It reflects Courbet’s enthusiastic interest in music through an unconventional portrait style where he holds a cello while wearing formal attire. The painting showcases sharp contrasts, bold lines, and vibrant colors without neglecting realism. These distinctive features exemplify Gustave Courbet’s style throughout his early career focused on Romanticism.