Gustave Courbet’s “Woman with a Parrot” is an oil painting that depicts a nude woman holding a parrot. It was painted in 1866 and was the first of Courbet’s nudes to be accepted by the conservative Paris Salon. The figure’s pose and subtly modeled flesh tones align it with academic art, but Courbet aimed to paint a nude that would challenge traditional expectations.
This work signifies a stylistic change from the Renaissance to the modern period, showcasing realism without idealizing its subject. Courbet was known for addressing social issues with his work in an unsentimental way. In this painting, he uses his technique to call attention to societal norms around nudity and sexuality.
The painting is currently held in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. As an important example of Courbet’s work, it continues to inspire discussions about the role of art as social commentary and expression.