The Sleeping Spinner (1853) by Gustave Courbet

The Sleeping Spinner - Gustave Courbet - 1853

Artwork Information

TitleThe Sleeping Spinner
ArtistGustave Courbet
MediumOil On Canvas
Dimensions35 7/8 x 45 1/4 in (91 x 115 cm)
Current LocationMusee Fabre, Montpellier

About The Sleeping Spinner

The Sleeping Spinner by Gustave Courbet is a significant artwork in the 19th-century French Realist movement. The painting, created in 1853, depicts a woman sleeping while sitting on her spinning wheel. The image showcases Courbet’s focus on daily life and the physical reality of objects he observed. He rejected moralizing and instead highlighted the ordinary aspects of everyday existence.

Courbet’s unique style challenged academic ideas on how art should be painted with his spontaneous brushstrokes and roughness of paint texture. The artist drew inspiration from Dutch paintings and the tradition of moralizing paintings that show women neglecting household tasks. However, he rejected this approach to showcase the simple beauty of everyday existence.

Exhibited at Salon in 1853, The Sleeping Spinner was purchased by a rich Montpellier collector for his personal collection. Today, it remains an important example of Courbet’s rejection of traditional academic approaches to art in favor of representing physical reality through vivid depictions of daily life situations.

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