The Village Girl with a Goatling (1860) by Gustave Courbet

The Village Girl with a Goatling - Gustave Courbet - 1860

Artwork Information

TitleThe Village Girl with a Goatling
ArtistGustave Courbet
Dimensions81 x 65 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationMusée Courbet, Ornans, France

About The Village Girl with a Goatling

“The Village Girl with a Goatling” is a notable work by the artist Gustave Courbet, dated to 1860. This painting is an embodiment of the Realism art movement. It measures 81 by 65 centimeters and is categorized as a portrait. The artwork is housed in the Musée Courbet, located in Ornans, France.

The artwork portrays a young girl in rustic attire, delicately holding a small goatling in her arms, suggesting a tender connection with the animal. She clutches a bundle of what appears to be freshly picked or cut foliage in her other hand, perhaps indicative of pastoral life. Adorning her head is a leafy garland, accentuating her bond with nature. The girl’s sober yet kind gaze, combined with her slightly parted lips, portrays a sense of calm introspection and confers an air of gentle poise to the composition. The brushwork visible in the piece is both robust and delicate, capturing the soft textures of the fur, the fabric of the girl’s clothes, and the foliage, as well as the subtleties of the girl’s expression and the dark eyes of the goatling.

Courbet’s use of chiaroscuro—the contrast of light and shadow—highlights the forms and increases their three-dimensionality. The choice of subject matter and the rendering of the young girl and the goatling demonstrates the Realist focus on depicting everyday life without idealism or romantic embellishment.

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