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The origin of the world

Painting, 1866, 46×55 cm

Description of the artwork «The origin of the world»

For example, the painting by Gustave Courbet "The origin of the world" you can clearly see how thin and blurry the boundary that separates pornography from erotica, naked shocking – from a creative position, unsophisticated operation – from high art. One, barely glancing at her, noted the master's hand and amber Titian palette. The other will remember something from the repertoire of the group "Leningrad" or grimaced, as if gaydaevskih hero: "the Shame!".

Today, anyone can take part in the debate: the painting on display in the Paris Musee d'orsay (though the discussion was too busy, the picture is always on duty personal guard). And in 1866, when it was written "the origin of the world, did not put on display, neither genitalia, nor their opinions about them. To the audience the film was presented to only 120 years later – the way that she had to do, and I want to call Odyssey.

Courbet wrote "the origin of the world" for a private collection – artist ordered the Turkish diplomat Khalil Bey, who lived in those years in Paris. Khalil-Bey was a great connoisseur of female beauty – among other things, his collection was "Turkish bath" Dominique Ingres and "Sleeping" the same Courbet. In the end, the diplomat went bankrupt and was forced to sell his collection – in 1868-m "the origin of the world" came to the famous Parisian antique dealer Antoine de La Garda. After 20 years, the canvas (hidden from indiscreet looks under the front panel with the unpretentious landscape) was discovered by the novelist Edmond de Goncourt is one of the brothers Goncourt, whose name is famous literary prize. In the early twentieth century the picture was in the Paris gallery Bernheim, where it was acquired by a Hungarian collector Ferenc Hatvany. Before the Second world war, the painting remained in Budapest. Then some time was considered lost, but in 1955 again "surfaced" - it was bought from an unknown merchant, the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.

Lacan at the request of his brother – artist Andre Masson – made for the painting Courbet's another sliding frame, over which a painted landscape that mimic the contours of the original. In this conspiratorial view of "the origin of the world" was in a country house Lacan before his death. And in 1981, the painting was transferred to the musée d'orsay in payment of inheritance tax, where, it seems, and found its final resting place.

However, even permanent residence in one of the most respected museums in the world did not protect "Origin of the world" from the new scandals and sensations – at times, frankly tabloid sense.

In 2013, the musée d'orsay, the exhibition “Masculin/Masculin”, dedicated to the male nudity in art. One of the most notorious objects of the exhibition was the photographs of "the origin of the war. The artist Orlan made a masterpiece of Courbet, the sex change operation – whether an homage to the master, or outright mockery.

In 2014, the Post office of France refused to print the edition of stamps with a reproduction of the painting Courbet, triggering in the papers a long discussion about morality and hypocrisy. In 2015, scored the social network Facebook to block the account of a certain French teacher, published "the origin of the world" on the page.

But the biggest story, perhaps, took place in 2013 when a French collector who wished to remain anonymous, said that he had found the missing part of the picture – the woman's head that Courbet allegedly "snapped" to keep secret the identity of the model.

Most critics agree that "the Origin of the world" Gustave Courbet posed Joanna Hiffernan. Joanna was a frequent and favorite model Courbet, presumably she was one of the models for almost as scandalous paintings of "Sleeping". The experts do not jump to conclusions. On the one hand, the position of the head girl not too corresponds to the position on the "Origin of the world", and the size of the last – all too typical of the paintings of Courbet to read fragment thereof. On the other, Joanne part-time was also a Muse of a friend Courbet – the notorious James McNeill Whistler. Courbet could remove the head, to keep secret his affair with Hiffernan.

However, Whistler was identified by his windy friend even without a head. Shortly after it was written "the origin of the world", he broke up with Joanne. One could hardly think of a better compliment for Courbet, who believed that painting should be "very specific art," and was fanatically devoted to realism. "The origin of the world" is convincing proof of the mighty potency of Gustave Courbet. Primarily as a portraitist.

Author: Andrew Zimoglyadov
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Nude

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1866

Size: 46×55 cm

Artwork in selections: 50 selections

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