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Welcome to the unexpected, the slightly odd, and the strangely wonderful in art history. Listen, subscribe, and share!

Episode #53: Shock Art: Courbet's The Origin of the World (Season 5, Episode 7)

Episode #53: Shock Art: Courbet's The Origin of the World (Season 5, Episode 7)

Works that we take for granted today as masterpieces, or as epitomes of the finest of fine art, could also have been considered ugly, of poor quality, or just bad when they were first made. With the passage of time comes a calm and an acceptance. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are many works peppered throughout art history that were straight-up shocking to the public when they were first presented decades, or even hundreds of years ago.

Today's work of "shock art:" Courbet’s The Origin of the World.

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Episode Credits

Production and Editing by Kaboonki. Theme music by Alex Davis.  Logo by Dave Rainey. Social media assistance by Emily Crockett. Additional writing and research by Kelsey Breen.

ArtCurious is sponsored by Anchorlight, an interdisciplinary creative space, founded with the intent of fostering artists, designers, and craftspeople at varying stages of their development. Home to artist studios, residency opportunities, and exhibition space Anchorlight encourages mentorship and the cross-pollination of skills among creatives in the Triangle.

Additional music credits

 "Equal Proportions" by David Hilowitz is licensed under BY-NC 4.0; "Pure Water" by Meydän is licensed under BY 4.0; "Breathing Out" by Mid-Air Machine is licensed under BY-SA 4.0; "Smoke" by Chad Crouch is licensed under BY-NC 3.0; "Prelude" by Yakov Golman is licensed under BY 4.0; "Beauty" by Spectacular Sound Productions is licensed under BY-SA 4.0; "Meekness" by Kai Engel is licensed under BY 4.0. Ads: "Effemeah Weeps" by Uncan is licensed under BY 4.0 (The Great Courses); "Gorgon" by Jesse Spillane is licensed under BY 4.0 (Skillshare); "Mod" by Jesse Spillane is licensed under BY 4.0 (ThirdLove); "In Shadows" by William Ross Chernoff's Nomads is licensed under BY 4.0 (The Citizenry).

Links and further resources

Musée d’Orsay: Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde

Associated Press: Courbet’s ‘Origin of the World’ Displayed At Orsay Museum

Hyperallergic: Other Half of Courbet’s Infamous “Origin of the World” Discovered in Paris #NSFW

Artnet: Art or Porn? A French Schoolteacher and Facebook Square Off in Court Over an X-Rated Courbet Painting

Artnet: A New Book Has Identified the Woman Who Posed for Courbet’s Scandalous ‘Origins of the World’

Artnet:  Artist Enacts ‘Origin of the World’ at Musée d’Orsay—And, Yes, That Means What You Think

BONUS EPISODE: Meet Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

BONUS EPISODE: Meet Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Episode #52: Shock Art: Balthus' Thérèse Dreaming (Season 5, Episode 6)

Episode #52: Shock Art: Balthus' Thérèse Dreaming (Season 5, Episode 6)

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