L’Origine du Monde

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L’Origine du Monde



L’Origine du Monde (1866) is a painting created by Gustave Courbet.  It depicts a woman lying on a bed, her legs spread, her vagina, belly and right breast uncovered.  The figure is anonymous, though it is probably the artist’s model Joanna Hiffernan.  (Constance Quéniaux, and Marie-Anne Detourbay have also been proposed).  In 2012 a painting displaying the head and shoulders of the woman was discovered, but its authenticity has been disputed.  The work was not publicly exhibited until 1988 and rests now in the Musée d’Orsay.

L’Origine du Monde is a powerful and provocative work.

S. Gray

June 2023

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