26 February 2024
Masterpieces of Realism at the Musée d’Orsay
A virtual tour
with Chris Boïcos
French art of the period after the 1848 Revolution moved from the Louvre to the new Musée d’Orsay after it was inaugurated in 1986.
The Realist painters of the mid-19th century were the first to break with the academic traditions of French art which dominated the official Paris Salon and also with their Romantic predecessors. By focusing their observation on contemporary French society, politics and the countryside, the artists of the 1850s and 1860s rejected the artifices of history and style and created the artistic revolution that eventually led to the rise of Impressionism and modern art after 1870. The leader of this generation is indisputably Gustave Courbet, whose greatest paintings – A Burial at Ornans and The Studio – are displayed at the Musée d’Orsay. Equally important are the critic of Parisian society, Honoré Daumier and the peasant painter Jean-François Millet (The Gleaners, The Angelus) as well as the Barbizon landscape painters (Daubigny, Rousseau) and sophisticated urban painters, James Tissot and Alfred Stevens.
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