The Sleepers

Le Sommeil-Gustave Courbet 1866

Inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s poem Femmes damnees Delphine et Hippolyte (Damned Women Delphine and Hippolyte) from his famous collection Fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil) which had resulted in prosecution, a hefty fine and the suppression of  six poems as an insult to public decency upon its initial publication, Courbet’s masterful realist erotic painting Le Sommeil (The Sleepers) with its provocative depiction of lesbianism led to a police report when it was first shown in 1872 and was not subsequently allowed to be publicly exhibited until 1988.

1866 was also the year that Courbet completed a commission for his most famous erotic painting L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World) with its graphic close up view of a naked woman’s genitals and abdomen. In February 2016 a Paris court has ruled that Facebook may be sued in France for removing the image from users pages.

19 thoughts on “The Sleepers

  1. Sad, “insult to public decency”. The true crime was hiding, “Le Sommeil” from the public for over 100 years. Ha-ha, Facebook attempting their own brand of censorship, what can we expect next? Excellent post Mr. Cake. ~ Miss Cranes

    Liked by 3 people

  2. One nude woman sleeping- masterpiece. Two nude women sleeping- pornography. Silly, really. Oh, Facebook is ridiculous. I saw Le Origine in D’Orsay years ago. It’s … Accurate! Enjoyed the post, Monsieur

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So it only took till 1988 to exhibit it? Hey — that’s not too bad! He he. (I like what Copper Cranes calls you, by the way. I’m gonna start calling you Mr. Cake.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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