A Series of Muses: Gustave Courbet

The Desperate Man (self-portrait), 1843-1845

My visual vocabulary along with being built upon an assorted cast of photographers, I rely on painters past and present. Gustave Courbet is my favorite painter. Monsieur Courbet was an iconoclast flaunting convention with his independence and bold rejection of his predecessors. Monsieur Courbet's work during the late 1840s and early 1850s was one of the first examples of social commentary in paintings, depicting unidealized peasants and workers, often on a grand scale traditionally reserved for paintings of religious or historical subjects

Realism revolted against the exotic subject matter and exaggerated emotionalism and drama of the Romantic movement. In my photography that's ironic because I think and compose my images as grand paintings with exaggerated emotional and dramatic undertones. Moreover, Realism sought to portray real and contemporary people and situations with truth and accuracy, and not avoid unpleasant or sordid aspects of life. With every image I create, I endeavor to harness those Courbet sensibilities of truth and authenticity.

A Burial At Ornans, 1850

In addition, to Monsieur Courbet's empathy for the unromantic aspects of life, I gravitated towards him because he audaciously rejected the old to create a new. Often, a rejection of the status quo leaves a yawning unfilled void of inadequate depth and value. 

As I stalk urban landscapes, I encounter the vivid vitality of people and their lives, with Monsieur Coubert and Realism as my weapons of choice, I show life unembellished and how even sordid images can be equally as valid and important as the romantic and staged images rampant across our culture. 

The Stone Breakers, 1849–50

Pascal DuBoisComment