The origin of the world
This painting is by Guastave Courbet who created it in 1866. The painting has a close up view of a woman lying on a bed. The painting specifically exposes her abdomen and the legs are spread. According to the painting, this is a Caucasian woman. Her breasts are developed and she has pubic hair. This, along with her body size indicates that she is a mature woman. The head and arms are covered and they are not part of the view. The most conspicuous theme expressed by this painting is nudity. The lying position of the woman shows eroticism. This is one of the most conspicuous themes in this painting (Riat, 56).
The artwork has been made by oil on canvas, which enables it to have a vivid image. This method of painting ensures the artist brings out accurate colors and outstanding resolution. This method involves spraying ink drops on the painting surface. It helps in smooth transitions of colors. After the painting is complete, it looks realistic and more appealing than other types of painting. Oil canvas painting meets the standard of most museums and galleries because of its quality. This painting resembles a photograph image because of it clarity and resolution (Boudaille, 57).
During Courbet’s time, nudity and eroticism was considered immoral and not a public discussion. Courbet used principle of realism in his work and as such, he managed to create this painting. He wanted to communicate clearly to the audience without concealing anything. This is why he painted woman’s genitalia with a close up view (Nochlin, 22). Every part is well exposed and clear. He made sure all the parts involved in eroticism are shown. This is why the painting shows the abdomen up to the thighs. The lower legs, hands and head have been left out. The model used in this painting is Joanna Hifferman who was Courbet’s favorite model.
Courbet rejected the styles of art academy in French. He wanted to be unique and preferred to physical reality as his inspiration. His realism on painting and artwork was used to motivate low class people in his town. He used his realism principle to respond political issues during his time (Nochlin, 71). Nudity is still prohibited in today’s world let alone in the 1800s. Courbet created a controversy ever since he created this painting. People have debated about its purpose and impact to the society. Some believe it promotes immorality whereas others see it as creativity and straight forward.
The painting was used to express an attitude among people. It is difficult for people to hear the truth especially if it is unpleasant. This is why this painting brought controversy and different opinions. People did not understand the intended message of the painting. The naked woman expresses the truth about any given situation. During Courbet’s time, there were many political issues, which needed to be addressed. Politicians used corrupt dealings and the public had to know the truth. This is why Courbet uses a naked woman to let people know they should know the truth as it is (Boudaille, 98).
Romance and Eros are natural and realistic therefore, the society does not have to condemn them. The painting shows appreciation of these two activities hence, portrays the parts involved in the actions. There is nothing wrong with romance and Eros in adults. It is only wrong when children are involved. This is why the painting portrays a mature adult woman and not an under age girl. Courbet would like people to stop pushing away this reality. They should embrace this gift and appreciate it (Riat, 112).
The main reason why this painting would bring controversy in today’s world is parents would not want their children to see it. They think it is bad influence and they judge it wrongly. The aspect of truth also applies to parents and their children. They find it embarrassing to discuss reproductive health with their children. Parents should discuss about human sexuality in plain language with their children. Human sexuality is reality and natural. Children experience physical changes in their bodies and they need their parents to explain the naked truth just as the painting (Boudaille, 122).
The title of this painting is origin of the world. This title and the painting have a relationship. The body parts of the woman represent the reproductive system of a female. The human generation was begun and it is continued by a woman giving birth to a child. The painting shows the parts involved in conception and delivering a child. Children breast-feed for the first two years. The breast represents this part of a human’s life. When a child is being conceived, it takes a man and woman to become intimate. The portrait’s legs are apart and they suggest willingness of intimacy (Riat, 90).
Romance and intimacy is characterized by love. It is one of the most important things in this world and it influences different aspects. This portrait communicates the theme of love between two people. Sexual relations are part of people who are in love. They use intimacy to express their love to each other and it enables them to bond. Courbet intended to tell people about the importance of love in the society. It should not be necessarily between two people but to everyone. This painting communicates many virtues and values to the people. People should be keen in the message it is communicating (Nochlin, 131).
Boudaille, Georges. Gustave Courbet, Painter in Protest. Greenwich, Conn: New York Graphic Society. 2007. Print.
Nochlin, Linda. Courbet. London: Thames & Hudson, 2007. Print.
Riat, Georges. Gustave Courbet. Ho Chi Minh City: Baseline Co, 2008. Print.