“I am fifty years old and I have always lived in freedom; let me end my life free; when I am dead let this be said of me: ‘He belonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to no academy, least of all to any régime except the régime of liberty”
Gustave Courbet, born Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet on the 10th June 1819 was a French painter, credired as leading the Realism movement in 19th-century French painting.
Courbet rejected academic norms at the time, painting only what he could see and his independence set an example that influenced later artists. He is recognised as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social statements through his work.
In 1871 he was imprisoned for six months for his involvement with the Paris Commune (a radical socialist group that ruled Paris from March to May 1871) and lived in exile in Switzerland from 1873 until his death.