Much has been written about Gustave Courbet. More than a dozen books with Courbet as the main title are on the first two pages of an Amazon search with his name. Many more articles can be found by doing a Google search. Some of the most recent articles have dealt with the 2008 retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Met had chosen to display Courbet's work thematically as opposed to chronologically. As a result the very first gallery was filled with self-portraits Courbet had painted after his arrival in Paris. Courbet was a young man searching for himself. There were so many of these portraits you could almost hear the critics of the day complaining “Courbet waving, Courbet walking…Courbet everywhere….”
Courbet with a Black Dog was accepted by the Salon in 1844 and gave Courbet the official recognition and that greatly pleased him.
For example, in Le Guitarrero, Courbet painted himself as a musician. Since it seems well known that he didn't know how to play the violoncello, it's questionable if he knew how to play the guitar. The Violoncellist painted in 1847 is our piece of the week here at Fifty Two Pieces.