EOTD, Made-Up History
Comments 17

Made-Up History: Gustave Courbet’s “The Desperate Man (Self-Portrait),” 1845


For this week’s installment of Made-Up History, I have one of my favorite works by Gustave Courbet. It is a self-portrait done in 1845. I have no idea how the heck he did this in 1845. I have a hard enough time painting from several static and unmoving reference pictures. And the pose and expression! He was just so good, if a little full of himself.

Courbet was AWESOME. He took no shit from anyone and was often referred to as a savage. He valued freedom (liberté!) above all else, and was of the belief that artists should paint from their life, thus catapulting Realism as an art movement.

Also, he looked remarkably like Johnny Depp and Elijah Wood’s baby.

For my look, I did:

MUH - Courbet

For the eyes, I used a combination of the white shadow from the bareMinerals READY 2.0 in The Scenic Route (“Breathtaking”), the NARS Duo in Paramaribo, and Galapagos and Night Clubbing from the NARS And God Created the Woman Palette.

I made my brows thicker and more unruly than usual. For cheeks, I used the ADDICTION Cheek Stick in Revenge, and for lips, I just dabbed MAC’s Ravishing all over my lips lightly. Very simple & easy.

And I really was trying to be non-smiley, like Gustave Courbet, but I couldn’t go through with it. Obviously:

MUH - Courbet haha

I’m really liking these thicker brows, hmm…

Here are the products I’ve used. I also powdered my face with a Physician’s Formula translucent powder.

MUH - Courbet - Products

— Benefit Lemon Aid
— The Body Shop Brow & Liner Kit (02)
— NARS Duo (Paramaribo)
— NARS Palette (And God Created the Woman)
— bareMinerals READY 2.0 (The Scenic Route)
— Addiction Cheek Stick (Revenge)
— MAC Lipstick (Ravishing)
— Brushes: elf Stipple Brush, Marionnaud stiff angled brush, Charm flat liner brush, Charm eyeshadow (?) brush), elf Blending Brush

I don’t claim to be a Courbet expert, but I am definitely a fan of a lot of his work. We went to see a special exhibit at the Met a few years ago, where I saw pieces like The Origin of the World, which is a picture of a woman’s vagina:

Courbet - Origin of the World

Last year, we saw it again when we visited the Musée d’Orsay, as well as The Artist’s Studio (L’Atelier du peintre): A Real Allegory of a Seven Year Phase in my Artistic and Moral Life, which is gigantic and marvelous. I did not expect it to be so huge.

Courbet - Studio

Something that is kinda funny that I just wanted to share was when I was reading a book by Megan McCafferty. It was the last book of the series, and she was describing a photograph of one Marcus Flutie (boy of my high school dreams, lol) and she wrote the ff:


LOL. Check out my annotations. So intelligent.

Also, something funny I have stumbled upon while looking for that Courbet quote online was a blog post by Alix West, in which she recounts her experience reading McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series and her hatred for Courbet. It is very, very entertaining.

I’m probably a sucker for self-absorbed asshats, but definitely not in “people I know” terms.

Anyway, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed my little post. I’m trying to do this frequently, aka once a week. Let’s see if I can. Sorry if there is a lack of curation with the posts. Do you guys want a more streamlined list of works, or is it fine that I jump around and pick whatever floats my boat?


  1. This is probably one of my favorite (if not my favorite) combo from all of your posts! So pretty and striking but overall just soft. Love it! Can’t shut up, obviously.

  2. Also, he looked remarkably like Johnny Depp and Elijah Wood’s baby.

    Oh my God, this made me laugh so hard.

    I’ve always liked his The Origin of the World. Such a simple but striking idea/image. A great reminder for the male assholes of the world.

  3. This is amazing! I love discovering new pieces of art (well, sort of) and this is just beautiful. I love this post!

  4. This is probably my favorite set of colors you have put out so far. I love the hues and how it blends into your skin type, you look great! That God Created the Woman palette is to die for, and I may have to meself one of those.

  5. Long time reader, first time comment-er here 🙂

    This is my favorite, so far, of your entire Made-Up History series. I can really see how the artwork has translated into your makeup look. Kudos!

    • Aw, thank you so much. 🙂 I’m really glad to hear that. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

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