About the Artist
Gustave Courbet, French, (1819-1877). Courbet started and dominated the mid-19th-century French movement toward realism. Realism is an approach to art in which subjects are depicted in as straightforward a manner as possible, without idealizing them and without following rules of formal artistic theory.
Prior to the beginning of this movement, art critics and the public were accustomed to a more romantic style of painting that made life look better than it was. Courbet, against much opposition, truthfully portrayed ordinary places, people and nature.