The Meeting

7:00 AM

Gustave Courbet, The Meeting, 1854

Ah, nothing rejuvenates creativity quite like a scenic journey through nature. Our artist decided join us in this painting. The bearded man on the far right is Gustave Courbet. To his near left, is his patron Alfred Bruyas. His fine green coat marks his status as a wealthy individual. Being the son of a Banker and also being a part time painter, it can be assumed that the carriage in the distance if probably his. Next to Bruyas is his servant named Calas, as well as his dog. 

Courbet almost entirely based this composition off of a popular print showing "The Bourgeois of the Town Speaking to the Wandering Jew." The "Wandering Jew" was a legendary folk figure who was an outcast and was cursed to eternally roam the Earth. The man mocked Jesus on the way to his execution, which brought the curse upon him. Courbet easily cast himself in the "Wandering Jew" role for him being the victim of persecution. He also used the "Wandering Jew" theme in a painting before. In this painting Courbet wanted to display the tradition of the traveling artisan.

Bruyas seems to hold a deep respect for Courbet, as his glove is off, presumably to shake his hand. Courbet hasn't returned the gesture possibly because patron and artisan are on different levels, as Bruyas is in Courbet's territory as an artist. Calas' head is bowed deeply, displaying upmost respect for Courbet, and the dog stands at Bruyas' side symbolizing loyalty.

This painting was exhibited in Paris at the 1855 Exhibition Universelle, where some critics ridiculed the painting, giving it the name "Bonjour Monsieur Courbet". Bruyas did not exhibit The Meeting until he donated it to the Musee Fabre in Montpellier in 1868.

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