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The Reproduction Process

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The origin of the world

Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World, painted in 1866 is an irreverent icon of modern art which retains the power to shock and provoke to this day. Courbet was often too much for his contemporaries, who shied away from his frank depictions of the social reality of the mid- to late-nineteenth century. Once owned by one of the most seminal thinkers in the history of psychoanalysis, Jacques Lacan, this sneering canvas portrays exactly what the title denotes; the origin of us all, the stark allure and anatomical clarity of a woman’s genitals. Both an icon and an iconoclasm, art historians have revealed in this reproduction from life of Courbet’s Irish mistress. Seen as a precursor of the early-twentieth century avant-gardes such as Dadaism, the canvas also speaks volumes about major thematic concerns in art history; general, voyeurism, exploitation. For many it has been a theoretical master key. Until recently the work was seen as a de-sexualised image, rendered as such by the precise cropping of the viewpoint, reducing into insignificance the space beyond the canvas that might shed light upon the subject.

Yet in a dramatic flourish that is so specific to art history, a section of a painting by Courbet has recently surfaced, showing a woman with her head reclined. French experts have confirmed that the newly found scrap of canvas comes from the same canvas from which The Origin of the World was cut. What once thought to be a ruthless, explicit snapshot has turned out to be a segment from a full nude. The work was originally commissioned by a Turkish art collector, famous for his taste for tasteful reproductions of erotic scenes, yet such a bare and honest depiction, stripped of any erotic element does indeed appear less subversive with the inclusion of the head. This discovery does not call for a revision on our interpretations of Courbet, but it does call for a revision on how this work has been viewed and disapproved of.

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If you have any request to alter your reproduction of The origin of the world, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of The origin of the world that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.

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The origin of the world Gustave Courbet

Item Number: 16968852 show sizes in cm
Painting Price: $304.99
you SAVE 55% Compared to Local Galleries $548.98
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