Child of materialism and positivism, Courbet was without doubt one of the most complex painters of the 19th century. Symbolising the rejection of traditions, Courbet did not hesitate to confront the public with the truth by liberating painting from conventional rules. He became from then on the leader of pictorial Realism.
This text on Courbet is the result of years of intensive research and traces with great care contradictory testimonies: the praises as well as the negative critics this controversial painter had during his time. Through his precision as an art historian, Georges Riat sheds new light on the work of this artist who created a real separation with the academicism of the time.
Georges Riat studied literature and history and was curator at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Specialising here in the conservation of engravings, Riat could admire Ruysdaël’s engravings and wrote a magnificent monograph on this subject. He was a respected art historian and wrote numerous articles in the Gazette des arts. He felt close to Courbet and was writing this monograph until the end of his life.
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