The painting was painted in 1846 - 1849.
Courbet was a true master of portraits. Interestingly, he himself was a model for paintings. The artist managed to write many self-portraits in which one can feel how his skill is gradually growing.
We see a fairly young man with half-closed eyes. The pallor of his face is effectively shaded by a shock of hair of a pleasant brown color. The protruding cheekbones and wings of a rather thin nose are drawn with the help of light shadows. The line of the mouth is deliberately marked with a crimson color. There is a feeling of maximum sensuality of this person.
The artist clearly conveyed his features with genuine pleasure, slightly romanticizing the image. Courbet is like himself. The collar of his shirt is a little wide open, the green jacket is very realistic, and on the face you can read some cynicism. It is nobleness and special tact of the image created by the painter that bribes us.
The artist uses rather gloomy colors, but the viewer does not create an oppressive impression. All the features of the hero are spelled out with extraordinary skill. The lines are so soft that it is simply amazing. The face seems to glow from the inside. It exudes incredible nobility and aristocracy. Hair merges with the main background. The artist does not specifically focus on this detail, since it is not the main one.
It is important to spell out the face of the hero and his expression as clearly as possible. It is no coincidence that this is a real mirror of our soul. Courbet managed to convey the character's character simply by writing in a certain way the features of his face.
Courbet was a true master who was able in his self-portraits to express the spirit of his time, as well as emphasize the basic features of a man of that time. A somewhat romantic reading does not in the least prevent the creation of the clearest picture of the era when Courbet lived and worked.
Painting by Princess Tarakanova