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Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet was a French painter of the 19th century. He was a leader of the Realism movement in French painting. His approach to painting was very different than his contemporaries. Instead of romanticizing and reinterpreting classical images, he committed himself to painting what he saw. Unlike most other 19th century artists, he rejected academic convention in favor of painting what he saw.

Courbet studied painting at the Sorbonne and received early training in Besancon. During the 1840s, he moved to Paris to study law. Upon arriving in Paris, he changed his mind about studying law and instead immersed himself in the arts, studying works of art at the Louvre and in the intellectual bohemian community. He died in exile, aged 39. In his later years, he became a respected artist and exhibited his paintings at various exhibitions.

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