The Trout is a painting by Gustave Courbet, a central figure in the emergence of Realism in the mid-19th century. Completed in 1872, it exemplifies Courbet’s style, which emphasized physical reality and depicted even ordinary or imperfect objects. The painting features a trout lying on a piece of newspaper that has been placed on a table with friends and admirers on one side and challenges and opposition on the other.
Courbet was known for his allegorical paintings that reflected his life as an artist. The Trout is considered to be one such painting where he symbolically conveyed his struggles as an artist who rejected traditional art techniques. Previously, he explored the theme of a sleeping woman in his painting The Hammock in 1844.
Currently housed at Kunsthaus Zürich in Switzerland, The Trout illustrates Courbet’s skill at portraying ordinary objects realistically while also incorporating deeper themes relevant to his life as an artist. His focus on depicting realism paved the way for future artists to examine everyday life with fresh eyes and transform them into beautiful works of art that transcend time.