Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
Back
Currently shown
Gustave Courbet

The Brook of the Black Well

Artist

Gustave Courbet
Ornans, France, 1819 – La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland, 1877

Title

The Brook of the Black Well

Date

About 1855

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

64.8 x 81.3 cm

Credits

Purchase, John W. Tempest Fund, inv. 1925.245

Collection

Western Art

“The title of Realist has been thrust upon me just as the title of Romantic was thrust upon the men of 1830,” wrote Courbet in the “Realist Manifesto” that served as introduction to the solo exhibition he put on concurrently with Paris’s Exposition universelle of 1855, which had rejected some of his works. Leader of the movement and an ardent Republican, he developed a style whose rough paints handling shocked critics, and his socialist views were out of step with the Second Empire. Courbet practised all genres of painting, including landscape. Here, he has employed his spirited technique to portray his native region, penetrating into nature’s untamed depths even more deeply than his friends of the Barbizon school. The result is a kind of pictorial struggle, a gestural performance that was revolutionary for the time. Executed (according to some specialists) largely onsite, this magnificent and compelling canvas was likely the sketch for a larger work in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

A touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation