Ifirst look at Burial at Ornans and take a dislike to it.
I see a painting of a small group of people with grim expressions on their faces. The piece is oil on canvas. It's simply painted, perhaps a palette knife has been used, and the colours are harsh and real, with definite edges and colour changes. Space has been used well, with the majority of the detail across the middle length of the piece, leaving the top and bottom lengths rather plain and empty to signify the ground and skies. The piece is balanced well the people are all standing on mutual ground and are roughly similar height. The artist has proportioned the people adequately to complement the size of the canvas with plenty of room around the to add background detail. The piece is of a group of people wearing black and a priest (they are presumably at a funeral). The expressions on their faces are dismal as they stand and mourn for someone on that gloomy day.
The artist doesn't appear to be conveying a message; he has just painted what he has seen. The piece expressed sadness and mourning. The misery of the people and the overcast day work hand in hand together, creating a twice as poignant scene as if either one had not existed.
The artist has used the characteristics of the above two stages well. He as painted what he saw and, as I can only assume this is exactly what he saw, he painted it superbly. He has captured the feeling of the people at the funeral and exerts these feelings to their full potential. Courbet only painted one way; he was a realist. He painted what he saw and tried to capture the feeling of the now, and not the later or the earlier. He had a particular interest in painting exactly what he saw, so this piece is certainly effective. The piece was meant to show the scene at hand. Courbet has done this well. I can see the scene and I can feel the scene. Despi