Gustave Courbet’s Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine (Summer) is an oil on canvas painting that measures H. 174 x w. 206 cm and is located at Petit Palais in Paris, France. The artwork depicts two young women lounging carelessly by the Seine, enjoying a lazy summer day.
Painted in 1856-57, Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine (Summer) is considered one of Courbet’s most exquisite paintings despite being controversial at its time of creation. The painting exemplifies realism, showcasing everyday life with vivid detail and without idealistic flourishes common to Romantic art movements.
The painting was groundbreaking as it depicted women in a way that was different from traditional portrayals of femininity and beauty during that era. The relaxed poses and comfortable attire worn by the women were considered scandalous for its time as it defied societal expectations for women to be proper and demure.
In contemporary times, Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine (Summer) remains highly admired for its beauty and technical prowess while also serving as a historical representation of shifting societal attitudes towards gender roles during Courbet’s period.