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The original painting of The Stonebreakers was destroyed in 1945 but it’s grim message remains. The men’s monotonous toil will get them nowhere, in this job you begin like one and end like the other. To me “it’s you can’t flog the youth” or “flog an old horse” (that’s life).

by GUSTAVE COURBET  1819-1877


Gustave Courbet’s paintings are among the most powerful and controversial of the 19th century. Courbet was born in the remote town of Ornans in France. He moved to Paris at the age of 20 and struggled for years to gain recognition as an artist. His chance came after the 1848 revolution where he was hailed as a leader of the new Realist school. His larger than life personality was almost as startling as his art. He gained acclaim as well as notoriety until his involvement in the revolutionary commune of 1871 led to his exile. He died in Switzerland aged 58.

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