|Gustave Courbet's Burial at Ornans now hangs in Paris' Orsay Museum.|
|Burial at Ornans, 1849-50, Gustave Courbet.|
|Courbet's Ornans studio.|
|This preliminary sketch defines the figures and the manner in |
which they are grouped in the painting.
|Courbet 's mother and three sisters--Juliette (whose face is covered), Zoé, and Zélie|
|Grandather Ouidot and the pall bearers, Gustave Courbet|
|The landscape attendant|
At the Salon in 1850-1851, many people decried "the ugliness" of the people, and the ordinariness of the whole scene. Among the few admirers of the painting, one critic prophesied that it would remain "the Herculean pillars of realism in modern history". The very subject of the painting has been reinterpreted. At first regarded as anticlerical, it was finally believed that, in a composition dominated by Christ on the cross (above), bringing together the clergy, a mayor and a Masonic judge, surrounded by men and women from all walks of life, it was the idea of "universal understanding" which prevailed, a constant preoccupation in the 19th century and for the 1848 generation in particular. Courbet's approach was radically innovative at the time: he used a canvas of dimensions usually reserved for history painting, a "noble" genre, to present an ordinary subject, with no trace of idealization, which cannot pretend to be a genre scene either.
|The grave, and M. Cassard, the grave digger.|
|Félix Nadar's photographic|
portrait of Gustave Courbet