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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Art Review

Catching up with Courbet at McMullen Museum

Show-off, scoundrel, and self-promoter par excellence, Gustave Courbet, the father of Realism, did his best to needle 19th-century decorum wherever he sniffed it. He was an all-round pain in the neck.

So it’s interesting to imagine what Realism, a movement that purported to care only for truth, would have looked like if it had been sired (and eventually it would have been) by someone else. Someone less theatrical. Someone more modest, measured, and subtle. Someone more in touch — well, with reality.

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