The Source (1868) by Gustave Courbet

The Source - Gustave Courbet - 1868

Artwork Information

TitleThe Source
ArtistGustave Courbet
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions4' 2 1/2" x 3' 2 1/4" (128 x 97 cm)
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationMusee d'Orsay, Paris
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About The Source

“The Source” is a remarkable work by artist Gustave Courbet, created in 1868. It is an oil on canvas painting that embodies the Realism art movement. The artwork measures approximately 4 feet 2 and a half inches by 3 feet 2 and a quarter inches (128 by 97 centimeters). It is a nude painting, fitting within a genre that explores the human form. This notable piece is currently housed in the Musee d’Orsay, located in Paris.

The artwork depicts a solitary nude female figure seen from the back, standing in a shallow body of water. The woman seems to be captured in a serene, natural setting, reaching out towards a rocky outcrop or perhaps a water source, presumably the inspiration for the title. Her pose is relaxed and contemplative, and she’s surrounded by lush vegetation and the soft cascade of a waterfall. The skilled application of light and shadow by Courbet accentuates the curvature of her body and the texture of the wet rocks and vegetation, bringing a tactile reality to the scene. The painting exudes a sense of tranquility and is a testament to Courbet’s mastery in representing the nuances of the natural world and the human figure with honesty and directness.

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