Whose self portrait is this?
Many of Gustave Courbet’s early paintings from the 1840’s are self-portraits, such as this one. As he had yet to truly develop his realistic painting style, many of these self-portraits are Romantic in style, illustrating the smooth lines and perfection of form of the Romantic school of painting. As a method of self-promotion and advertisement, Courbet made an impression with his self-portraits, and used them to find his own artistic style. After this period, Courbet became convinced that painters should illustrate the world around them as they see it and his realistic work in the later 1840’s gained support among younger realist and neo-romantic painters.
Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (10 June 1819 – 31 December 1877) was a French painter who led the Realism movement in 19th-century French painting. Committed to painting only what he could see, he rejected academic convention and the Romanticism of the previous generation of visual artists. His independence set an example that was important to later artists, such as the Impressionists and the Cubists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th-century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social statements through his work.