Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Slap On The Derrière

When Napoleon III visited the Salon of 1853, he did not like Gustave Courbet's painting "Bathers." So he walked up to the 8-foot-tall canvas and slapped the posterior of the figure with his riding crop.

Courbet, The Bathers, 1853
The issue was not that she was nude, nor was it the size of her posterior, which appeared proletarian to many observers.

The painting outraged the Emperor "because, nude and proletarian, she was masquerading as a nymph."

In his book Art and Photography, Aaron Scharf argues, "Almost always, Courbet's nudes assume attitudes derived from antique conventions; though they are never garnished with the obvious archaeology of his Neo-Classical contemporaries, their settings are no less traditional. The degradation of the Ideal was guaranteed by coupling it with the real: with vulgar photographic realism."
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Gustave Courbet on Wikipedia

1 comment:

GJ said...

She's a big girl, and though she's not exactly fat
She'll need a little more than that
To earn a living wage—
On my knees, Mrs Worthington
Please, Mrs Worthington
Don't put your daughter on the stage.
—Noel Coward