The Stone Breakers

WHO WAs gustave courbet?

Gustave Courbet was a pivotal figure in the mid-19th-century birth of Realism. He regarded his Realism as a method of defending the farmers and rural folk of his birthplace.

influence of realism

Realism is regarded as the first contemporary art movement, rejecting conventional forms of art, literature, and social structure as obsolete in the aftermath of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.

artwork in context

Courbet rode his family wagon down a route at Maisières, near Ornans in eastern France, in 1849. He walked by two laborers, a male, and a boy, who were crushing stones into pebbles for the roadbed.

analysis of artwork

This was not Courbet’s first picture of unsophisticated, country peasants, but it became one of the most significant pieces in an art collective known as Realism.

analysis of artwork

Courbet, Jean-Francois Millet, and Honoré Daumier disregarded what they saw as creative aberrations and attempted to produce artworks that truly reflected reality as they saw it.

analysis of artwork

Courbet destroyed the concept of an ageless and classless country ideal by showing characters whose economic and social distinctiveness was reinforced by their tangible weight and physical effort.

analysis of artwork

Courbet’s brushstrokes, like the rocks themselves, are rough – rougher than one might anticipate for the mid-19th century.

why is the work so popular?

This is hardly a heroic story; rather, it is an accurate representation of the brutality and hardship that was a frequent feature of mid-century French rural life.