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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC




The Painter's Studio, like A Burial at Ornans, is considered a masterpiece of the Realist movement.

In this painting, Courbet is taking an episode of The Last Judgement - where Christ is said to judge all souls, sending some to Heaven and others to Hell.

But he replaces the Biblical figures with contemporary subjects.

He represents himself, as the judge in the centre.

He paints those he condemns to his left : art critics (represented by the skull on the newspaper), the teachers of the Academy of Art (represented by the sculpture at the back), the Romantics (represented by the musical instruments on the floor), Emperor Napoleon III (the man sitting on a chair by the dog)...

To the right, he paints the "soul" and ideals he saves : Innocence (represented by the child), Truth (the naked model), artistic freedom (the landscape on the canvass), poetry (poet Charles Baudelaire reading a book), art collectors (the well-dressed couple observing the scene), free love (the embracing couple)...

Fun fact : can you see the ghost-like figure emerging from the darkness in the bottom right, above the man reading a book?

It’s Baudelaire’s mistress, Jeanne Dorval.

Indeed she was initially part of the painting, but Courbet removed her at Baudelaire's request.

However, as the painting ages, she reappears!

La Joconde, de Vinci (1519)


The Angelus

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