Description of the painting by Gustave Courbet “Woman with a Parrot” (1866)

Description of the painting by Gustave Courbet “Woman with a Parrot” (1866)

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The canvas was presented at the Paris Salon in 1866 and immediately won success with the audience, who were always attracted by the beauty of the naked female body. There is an assumption that the Irish became a model, who served as a model for other paintings of the painter.

The whole main plan of the picture is occupied by a young girl casually spread out on the bed with braided wavy dark hair. She lies on her back, turning slightly in a half-turn and covering a small section of her leg with a snow-white, wrinkled blanket. Her left hand is raised and gracefully turned with the back side up, a bright motley bird crouched on it, spreading its wings wide, as if ready to fly away at any moment or wanting to tell the beauty something.

To the right of the bed is a shiny metal parrot stand. The artist realistically conveyed the brilliance and halftone of polished copper. In his works, Courbet studied everyday pictures of life, freeing them from various philosophical, moral, political considerations, schemes, conventions. Behind the woman, a carefully painted antique carpet is visible, but it is in the shade, and its design is barely marked to give the impression of a semi-darkness in a room where the only bright spot is a beautiful female body. It is like a radiant tender skin striking with naturalness and purity.

The girl does not cause rude emotions. Her beauty gives rise to admiration, not lust. She is not a servant, not a slave or a romantic character. This is an ingenuous ordinary girl, resting, lazily and lonely stretched out and playing with her favorite. The color can hardly be called diverse: it is minimized in key tones. White, green and warm brown prevail. The only tiny bright accent is the plumage of a bird. Against the dark background of the carpet with a barely noticeable ornament and the landscape barely visible in the distance, the girl’s naked body stands out even more spectacularly. It exudes a laid-back and instinctive passion, which the artist was able to skillfully convey. Critics noticed that the heroine of the picture looks very modern and called her “a real living Frenchwoman”.

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