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GUSTAVE COURBET: Painting Winter Shapes

Theme: Painting Winter Scenes and shapes, Making Visually Informed about Winter Landscape.

Poor Woman of Village

There was a man of free will who did not associated with any school, institution of a style of painting; or even to the church. He wanted to be know so in his after life. He was Gustave Courbet, a French painter.

Winter In Art: We love to see the trees in winter, striped of their foliages and with exposed skeletons. The winter scenes and the shapes visible in the cold perspective have their own beauties. If we look with an artist’s mind, we can trace out rhythm in embedded in the shapes formed by the trees standing on the barren land, in the branches of trees and their twigs, on the show fallen on a distant rooftop. Gustave Courbet had seen such beauty in the winter scenes; and he had painted many landscapes, which makes the viewers visually informed bout the colourful beauty of winter scenes. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commns)

The Artist: Gustave Gourbet (1819-1877) was a French painter who came from an affluent family; but preferred to be among the life of the common men. He had emerged as a force in modern painting. He had properties situated in the south-east France, near the beautiful and snow covered mountain peaks of Alps, nearing the Swiss border. It made Courbet to come in close touch of the nature ad his artistic soul turned this opportunities into beautifully painted landscapes paintings. On seeing his paintings, the viewers eyes would realize how the cold shawl of snow covers every inch of the earth, making it looking beautiful. Such was his perfection in the art.

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The Art: In above painting, Poor woman of the Village, Courbet has shown his artistic prowess in depicting the scenery with honesty. The snow-clad landscape and the foreground figures of a child and a village woman followed by a goat immediately put into a village scene during winter. The snow rich rooftop in seen in distance depict the harshness of the season.

If the artist does not apply symbolism in his/her painting, the art work seems lacking something. But here Gustave Courbet has depicted the hardships of life through the snow covered land and the visible poverty of the woman. But the shining sun provides us the feel of hope and happiness.

Courbet had painted several winter landscapes. In this painting Village in Winter he had depicted his favourite subject, the harshness of the nature.
Village in winter

Here he painted the homes, symbolising the security and the feel of being sheltered. The just-fallen snow indicates the vagaries of weather inflict on us. Such contradiction was not uncommon in Courbet’s paintings, it was like his signature. Here he seemed to have worked from darker shades to lighter ones, completing the chiaroscuro, using the technique of painting the darker parts with loaded shadows.

The landscape artists is not merely a photographer, recreating a scene with blobs of colours and bristles of his brushes. In a larger perspective, he tries to reveal his feelings for the piece of land he paints. Here Courbet seems to embed his patriotism and the love for the land he lived on. [Images courtesy Gustave Courbet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Gustave Courbet auto-retrato

It was not surprising why Courbet tilted his brushes loaded with bright colours towards the neat realism. Though he was master in portrait making, too, he mainly painted the common places and common men and women. These people would be active in their daily life.

Gustave Courbet

His active disconnection with the main stream of artists is visible every brush stroke he put on canvas. His vibrant and honest presentation made him inviting enmity and affection, almost in the same proportion.


Courbet had mastery over painting the landscapes. He tried recreating many historical and important places he had seen or lived nearby. The painting of Chateau de Chillon, a one thousand year erection, is one of such paintings.
Chateau de Chillon

This place and the monumental edifice had always been an inspiration for the artists, as it is considered as a jewel of architectural design. Writers have wrote about it and the painters have painted it. so did Courbet. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

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