Gustave Courbet (1819-1877)
L’Origine du Monde 1866
Courbet has got to be one of my top ten favorite artists… and I hate vaginas. Usually. The neat bit of trivia about this- according to historian Paul Johnson (and wikipedia), psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan purchased this painting at auction and had his stepbrother André Masson draw an abstracted sketch of the painting to hang in front of the more explicit Courbet. It was originally commissioned for a rich Turkish diplomat. Personally, I find the existence of Courbet’s more extreme paintings more realistic, beautiful, and progressive than Edouard Manet (1832-1883), although Manet exhibited his Olympia (1863) at the Paris Salon— something Courbet could not have done with L’Origine du Monde. Regardless, I prefer Courbet. Though, apples and oranges I guess.