Musée d'Orsay: Gustave Courbet The Spring

Gustave Courbet
The Spring

The Spring
Gustave Courbet (1819-1877)
The Spring
Oil on canvas
H. 128; W. 97 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

La Source [The Spring]

Courbet escaped from the traditional norms of painting by subordinating the description of nature to an eminently personal experience. His motifs were mainly taken from his native region, Franche-Comté. The Loue valley, with its caves and woods, was tirelessly revisited as if he needed these references to give his painting balance. The harmony of nature and the animal kingdom was celebrated with lyricism, as was the fusion of female figure with nature. The Spring avoids the allegorical academic treatment usually reserved for this subject and belongs to a series of paintings that Courbet devoted to the most noble and ambiguous theme in painting, the nude. By unveiling the truth of a body shaped by the wearing of a corset, and putting it into an identifiable landscape, the canvas daringly symbolises as much a taste for the real world as the artist's imagination.

Courbet Dossier

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