As evident in The Edge of the Sea at Palavas (1854), Gustave Courbet refused to idealize his subjects or his aesthetic. He painted a blunt image of modern life in a frank and rough style that came to be known as realism.
Courbet rose to public attention during the brief democratic rule of the Second Republic (1848-51), when the restrictive Salon policies were relaxed. He maintained an independent identity as an artist as the art world returned to more conservative standards during the Second Empire (1851-71).
Light and movement were enormously important factors in impressionist compositions. Go to the next page to see a vivid example of light and movement in another seascape by Gustave Courbet, The Calm Sea.