The Trout (1872) by Gustave Courbet

The Trout - Gustave Courbet - 1872

Artwork Information

TitleThe Trout
ArtistGustave Courbet
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions21 5/8 x 35 in (55 x 89 cm)
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationKunsthaus Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland

About The Trout

“The Trout” is an oil on canvas painting by Gustave Courbet created in 1872. As an adherent to the Realism movement, Courbet’s artwork captures an animal subject with striking naturalism. The work is a prime example of animal painting, with the canvas measuring 21 5/8 by 35 inches (55 by 89 centimeters). Currently, it can be viewed at the Kunsthaus Zürich in Zurich, Switzerland.

The artwork depicts a single trout, seemingly in the midst of a struggle, its body arched and mouth open against the forces that ensnare it. The fish’s flesh is rendered with meticulous attention to the variations in texture and color, highlighting the iridescence and the slick, wet surface of its skin. Courbet has masterfully used lighting to enhance the sense of volume and the liveliness of the trout, making it the undisputed focal point against a subdued, dark background that suggests a watery environment. The ground, possibly the river bed, is expressed with earthy tones and textures, providing a contrast to the fish’s shimmering scales. The painting’s realism is underscored by the detailed portrayal of the trout’s anatomy and the dynamic sense of movement captured in this critical moment of its existence.

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