The Source

Artist: Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)

Date: 1862

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 47 1/4 x 29 1/4 in. (120 x 74.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: 29.100.58

Description

This nude is painted in an unflinchingly naturalistic style and is devoid of the trappings of academic allegory to which the painting’s title alludes. Courbet is thought to have intended it as a response to Ingres’s own La Source (1856, Musée d’Orsay, Paris), which was exhibited at the Galerie Martinet, Paris, in 1861. The picture by Ingres depicts an idealized nude holding a jar from which water pours, an allusion to a spring or river source, and symbolizing poetic inspiration.

Related