French School of Realism

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    Courbet, Stone Breakers

    Reveals the impact of socialist ideas on his iconography. These figures evoke the romantic nostalgia for a simple existence but also show the mindless repetitive character of physical labor born of poverty. The figures are rendered anonymously which allies them with a class of work rather than accentuating their human individuality.
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    Courbet, The Interior of My Studio: A Real Allegory Summing Up Seven Years of My Life as an Artist from 1848 to 1855

    Over this period Courbet struggled to free himself from the style of his romantic predecessors. He wanted to embark on a new artistic phase in which his subject matter would reflect the reality of french society. The painting showed society at its best, its worst, and its average. Courbet identifies the group on the left with his past and those on the right with his present and future. It was showed at Courbet's own exhibition in 1855.
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    Daumier, Louis-Philippe as Gargantua

    • Indicates the oppressive tax structure of the government that
    • starves the poor, further enriches the wealthy, and disproportionately aggrandizes the king. We can not help but feel bad for the starving peasants and feel that the king and the wealthy around him are not acting in the interests of the people. But this work goes farther, it is an indictment of everything about the government. Not only is the
    • king eating all the earnings of the poor, but he’s also creating law.
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    Daumier, Freedom of the Press: Don't Meddle with It

    Protest against censorship. Impact of the picture caused france to pass a law limiting freedom of the press to verbal rather then pictoral expression.
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    Millet, Gleaners

    Illustrates the transition between romanticism and realism. The focus on their task recalls the romantic sense of "one with nature". The shortened forms convey a sense of powerful energy. Characteristic of realism is the emphasis on class distinctions. The laboring workers are in shadows while the illuminated well off farm is in the background.
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    Courbet, Burial at Ornans

    • This picture shows the burial of Courbet’s great uncle. In the painting we see all classes and both clergy and laypeople shown as a united group. All the heads are at close to the same height and rather than highlighting a few important figures, the various classes and professions become a unified crowd. But, Courbet goes farther than just eradicating the class divide. He said, "The Burial at Ornans was in reality the burial of Romanticism." Clearly, not every Romantic
    • painter stopped painting in 1851, when this was shown at the Salon. Courbet called this the burial of Romanticism because in the painting, he eradicates fantasy or anything else that is imaginative.
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French School of Realism
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