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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC



The Musée d'Orsay picks up where the Louvre leaves off.

While the Louvre covers Antiquity to the 19th century, the Orsay Museum is a treasure trove of 19th century art.

It's particularly famous for its Impressionist and post Impressionist paintings, full of light and color.

So this painting might seem a little unusual.

But it marked a real shift in history of art - introducing the Realist movement.

The painting is absolutely (6 x 3m).

It represents a funeral in the artist, Courbet's, native town, near Besançon, in Eastern France.

All the people represented are local townspeople.

Representing a realistic, everyday scene on such a large scale was considered scandalous at the time.

Critics accused Courbet of painting the ugly, the vulgar, the trivial…

The expectation was for artists to focus on moral or historical subjects, like those exhibited at the Louvre.

2 years after the Revolution of 1848 - which saw protests sweep through Europe and topple monarchies - showing people from different classes coming together was also seen as very provocative.