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Image credit: © Phoenix Art Museum. All rights reserved.
Gustave Courbet
French, 1819 - 1877
Beach at Dieppe (La playa de Dieppe)
oil on canvas
Credit Line:
Collection Phoenix Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Murray
Object Number:
On view status (subject to change):
On view
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North Wing, Second Floor, 19th century European
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A prolific artist, Courbet was well-known for his portraits and narrative paintings. He usually depicted nature in its more serene moods, but in this painting and the adjacent The Wave, he has portrayed the fury and treachery of the elements. These "sea landscapes" are two of his later works. Angry seas had been a popular theme during the early years of the nineteenth century. The emphasis had often been on the heightened emotional and dramatic qualities inherent in the subject. Courbet, considered to be the father of Realism, would not paint a subject with which he had no experience. He stated, "The art of painting can consist only in the representation of objects visible and tangible to the painter." He did not idealize or dramatize the tempestuous waves; he portrayed the scene as he saw it. Nevertheless, there is a foreboding quality in the motion of the waves against the darkened background. There is no sign of human life. Only the brightness of the small area of turquoise sky seems to lighten the atmosphere.
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Hardy S. George, "Tempests and Romantic Visionaries: Images of Storms in European and American Art"

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  • Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester and the Power of Observation
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