COURBET, Gustave
(b. 1819, Ornans, d. 1877, La Tour-de-Peilz)

Firemen Running to a Fire

Oil on canvas, 388 x 580 cm
Musée du Petit Palais, Paris

Because this painting is unfinished, we cannot be certain of the painter's intentions, but it has undeniable merit in the organisation of the figures. There is no sense of their having been recomposed in the studio; indeed, they might almost have been sketched on the spot. Courbet had set up his easel in the firemen's barracks in rue Saint-Victor while the commander had sounded the alert so that the painter could watch the firemen go about their standard procedures.

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