"If you want to see a gaudy flower bed, look at Monsieur Courbet's paintings" advised a perfidious critic in 1853. Ten years later, Manet's paintings were met with the same derision.
Gustave Courbet in Le Messager de l'Assemblée (25th and 26th February 1851) : "I heard the comments of the crowd in front of the painting of Burial at Ornans, I had the courage to read the nonsense that was printed regarding this picture, and I wrote this article ..."
Théophile Gautier, La Presse, 15th February 1851: "There have always been two schools of thought in painting: that of the Idealists and that of the Realists [...] Monsieur Courbet belongs to the second school, but he differs from it in that he seems to have taken an ideal opposite to the usual ideal: whereas the straightforward Realists are happy to copy nature as they see it, our young painter, parodying for his own benefit the verses of Nicolas Boileau Despréaux, seems to be saying: "Only the ugly is beautiful, only the ugly is likeable." It is not enough for the people to be common; he selects his subjects and then deliberately exaggerates their crudeness and vulgarity."
Eugène Delacroix in The Journal, 15th April 1853: "I went to see the paintings by Courbet. I was astonished by the vigour and the relief of his vast picture; but what a painting! What a subject! The commonness of the forms would not matter; it is the commonness and uselessness of the thought which are abominable [...] Oh Rossini! Oh Mozart! Oh geniuses inspired by all the arts, who draw from things only the elements that are shown to the mind! What would you say before these pictures?"