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Bathers

Painting, 1853, 193×227 cm

Description of the artwork «Bathers»

A Friend Of Gustave Courbet – James Whistler – defended their right to be an artist, not a photographer. Courbet himself believed that "painting – specific art" and tried to re-create reality with photographic accuracy. Being on the opposite positions, and Courbet and Whistler were regularly subjected to violent criticism: the audience always craves the middle.
One of the clearest examples of such a radical (by the standards of the 19th century) authenticity was the painting of Courbet "Bathers" that caused a scandal at the Paris Salon of 1853.

Two burly peasant women on shore so unappetizing that seems to be one of them Courbet left his clothes out of compassion to the public – has provoked from critics jaundice, which, perhaps, will not be rewarded and Manet with its "Breakfast on the grass". Passing in front of the canvas Napoleon III was no match for feelings and struck him with his whip. Even a supporter of Courbet – Eugene Delacroix – was annoyed "a hideous vulgarity of the forms" whether to talk about the detractors , who the artist was set.

Critics have noted that the "Bathers" there is no edifying or moral that the poses of the girls is unnatural and promise story, which is actually not that "bathers" drive the last nail in the coffin the romantic era.

But most of all the audience unnerved that one of the bathers – dirty feet.

The modern viewer might think that the most outrageous works of Courbet was pornographic "The origin of the world" or the scene of lesbian love in the picture "Sleeping". But these things are not intended for exhibitions, was the fulfillment of private ordering, creating no consequences for the professional reputation of the artist had not. "Dormant" and does solved in the style of academic painting - where outraged pointedly crumpled sheets, but not the artistic techniques of an author. Another thing - "bathers". With dirty feet in the halls of the Paris Salon - it's too much.

If this story decided to capture James Whistler, maybe the peasant woman instead of legs would be unsteady haze in a refined gray and black schemes. But the principles Courbet demanded the truth, and the truth was that the French peasant in the nineteenth century did not abuse hygiene. And could not to dust the feet that had trodden the path for a direction, which years later would call socialist realism.

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: 1853

Size: 193×227 cm

Artwork in selections: 16 selections

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