Description of the painting by Gustave Courbet “Sleeping”

The erotic painting "Sleeping" was painted by West European artist Gustave Curbe in 1866 by order of a diplomat from the Ottoman Empire, who at that time lived in Paris. The plot is based on two completely naked women, a blonde and a brunette, lying in an embrace on a white sheet. Their general appearance and posture, as well as some other individual details of the image, clearly indicate that the picture depicts lesbians. The figures of women are deployed in such a way that the most visible and clearly drawn out are the breasts, hips and buttocks, which indicates a high eroticism of the whole composition.

The appearance of this canvas, which was immediately perceived as innovative and beyond the traditional concept of morality, caused extreme disapproval in a significant part of French society. The writer Alexander Dumas, Jr., who was familiar with this picture, called the author a bastard and described him as “the embodiment of an idiotic and powerless”, far from all humanity and high art. After widespread condemnation in the press, “Sleeping”, like Courbet’s other creation, “The Origin of the World,” where the artist closeup depicted female genitals, was hidden for a long time in private collections in Paris and was not exhibited to the public until the end of the twentieth century.

Since the 1980s Courbet's painting, recognized by European art, became available to visitors. Many modern researchers note the great artistic value of the canvas, as well as a number of other scandalous works of the artist, with which the development of a new, realistic direction in painting begins.

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