hen you look at art you must identify a story. Some pieces of art showcase different perspectives to be seen by unique characters, however, some pieces of art have a very distinct story behind them. The Artist’s Studio by Gustave Courbet is considered to have a deep meaning as it is more of a testimony to the artist’s view on life.
Courbet described the painting:
“A real allegory summing up seven years of my artistic and moral life”.
The painting is described as a manifest that is trying to criticize the contemporary norm of art and how an artist does not really find their voice as he or she has to follow these certain norms to become popular. For example, we have in the middle Courbet drawing a simple yet beautiful landscape of nature, however, behind his back is a female model that represents the norm of modern art in the 19th century.
Why artists are so complicated
The mind of an artist is beyond complex as his heart and mind always contradict themselves. We can see this present in the picture through the social behavior of those drawn.
On the right, we have the higher social class that understands the finesse of art and with their financial power sort of control, the industry and the norms artists have to follow.
On the left, we have common people that came and went by in Courbet’s life that didn’t have much of an impact, and didn’t care much about art but they still judged.
In the painting, you can see that some characters are observing Courbet’s painting and some aren’t which is trying to depict that in the head of an artist he is always being watched by the audience, even when he paints, making the heart put on a canvas contradict with the mind that wants to be appraised.
Although the life of many artists is described to be very lonely, in their heads they are always being watched by others and even small interactions can have a huge impact on their social behavior. This pavilion of realism that Courbet created is the best piece of art in regards to defining the reality within an artist’s life. A beautiful yet depressing life.
The modern Art revolution
Courbet didn’t agree with the changes that were happening in the world of art. This industry was supposed to be about emotions and creativity not about norms and demands which is why this piece is considered to have been a revolution within the world of Art in the 19th century.
At the time the norms were either nude models or religious paintings but the artist chose to follow his heart by drawing nature. In this painting, he wanted to show the true reality of the world as everything was slowly becoming controlled by higher powers and in this instance even the art itself.
The small child next to Courbet is a representation of his imagination used in art and what should be the main norm within the art industry. Some art critics say that the child is actually an admirer of the landscape painting, representing innocents within the judgment of art by a mind that isn’t yet indoctrinated with the norms implied by society.
Placing himself in the middle of the painting to attract all the attention, the artist wanted to portray that there is a significant space of understanding between the public and the artist in the sense that the public will never see a piece of art with the same eyes the artist sees it.
In reality, people had forgotten a long time ago about the real meaning of art and the morals behind it. This craft should be done through passion and high interest, not a demand that keeps the artist fed. The same applies to other types of art and even writers who can be controlled by certain norms that attract higher readership.
Although the artist does place the focus on art, the idea is that life is very different than what it’s depicted in contemporary texts or paintings. Artists are telling a story that isn’t inspired by them but rather demanded by others.