The Village Maidens (1851 – 1852) by Gustave Courbet

The Village Maidens - Gustave Courbet - 1851 - 1852

Artwork Information

TitleThe Village Maidens
ArtistGustave Courbet
Date1851 - 1852
Dimensions54 x 65.4 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art (Met), New York City, NY, US

About The Village Maidens

“The Village Maidens” is an exquisite artwork created by the renowned artist Gustave Courbet between 1851 and 1852. This genre painting is executed in oil on canvas and embodies the Realism art movement’s ethos. The piece measures 54 cm by 65.4 cm and currently resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) in New York City, NY, US.

Capturing a moment in rural life, the artwork portrays a group of young women engaging with each other in a bucolic setting. There are four maidens in all, dressed in the attire of the period, which suggests simplicity yet charm; the cut and fit of their dresses also speak of modesty and the unassuming quality associated with the rural populace of the time. Two of the maidens are centerstage, with one holding an umbrella; there is also a child, perhaps indicative of the close knit community and family relations in the village. Joining this pastoral scene are animals commonly connected with agricultural living: a dog looking attentively at its human companions and two cows grazing in the background. The setting is lush and verdant, an idyllic countryside that brings out the beauty and tranquility often romanticized in rural landscapes. The overall composition immerses the viewer in a moment of everyday tranquility, captured with masterful technique that Courbet was celebrated for.

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