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Nedelja, 02 Maj 2021 19:34

Inspiration for The Stone Breakers by Gustave Courbet Istaknut

The Stone Breakers, detail The Stone Breakers, detail

Gustave Courbet described his inspiration for The Stone Breakers in a November 1849 letter to Francis and Marie Wey:

"I had taken our carriage to go to the Château of Saint-Denis to paint a landscape. Near Maisières I stopped to consider two men breaking stones on the road. One rarely encounters the most complete expression of poverty, so right there on the spot, I got an idea for a painting. I made a date to meet them in my studio the following morning, and since then I have painted my picture."

Gustave Courbet described the composition of The Stone Breakers in the same letter:

"... On one side is an old man of seventy, bent over his work, his sledgehammer raised, his skin parched by the sun, his head shaded by a straw hat; his trousers, of coarse material, are completely patched; and in his cracked sabots you can see his bare heels sticking out of socks that were once blue. On the other side is a young man with swarthy skin, his head covered with dusk; his disgusting shirt all in tatters reveals his arms and parts of his back; a leather suspender holds up what is left of his trousers, and his mud-caked leather boots show gaping holes on every side. The old man is kneeling, the young man standing behind him energetically carrying a basket of broken rocks. Alas! In this class, this is how one begins, and that is how one ends. Scattered here and there is their gear: a basket, a stretcher, a hoe, a lunch pail, etc. All this takes place in the blazing sun, at the edge of a highway ditch: the landscape fills the canvas."

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