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Gustave Courbet and the Taurus TouchCourbetImage

My nominee for most Taurus artist is someone who is not a Taurus by Sun sign. Gustave Courbet was a Sun sign Gemini, and he was a typical Gemini in many ways. (His genius at using art and other media for self-promotion would fit quite well into today’s world.) But Courbet’s art reflects his Venus, Mars, Mercury and Ascendant, all of which were in the sign of Taurus. (Click here to see his chart.)

Courbet was a French painter of the mid 19th Century and the self-declared leader of the Realist Movement in French art. State simply, Realist painters demanded that artists stop messing around with depictions of Greek gods and fanciful interpretation of ancient history and concentrate on contemporary subjects and the common people. It was a radical concept at that time, both artistically and politically. It was also a marvelous expression of an Earth sign attitude.

And Courbet was definitely and Earth sign artist with all of the sensuality we expect from Taurus. Some of his private commissions were so sexy that they had to be kept out of the sight of women and children. These paintings were often kept locked away and viewed only after a fancy dinner, when the men folk retired to the inner sanctum to enjoy their cigars and their Courbets. (Click here to see a gallery of Courbet’s work.)

The work pictured here (titled Young Ladies on the Seine) is not one of those “special” commissions, but it does provide us with a wonderful rendition of the Taurus world view. The women are young and lovely (by the standards of the time), but our eyes are also tantalized by the color and luxurious textures of their clothing. The painting also gives us the sound of the wind through the trees, the smell the grass, the coolness of the shade. Courbet engages all of our senses with the work, so that the “come-hither” gaze of the young woman on the ground is almost superfluous.

There is a feeling of gorgeous lassitude in this scene. No one is in a hurry to do anything. It is the perfect Taurus day, a day in which the only priority is to enjoy the pleasures of sight, sound and smell, to soak in the sensual riches of life on this earth.

This is what Taurus is all about, to show us that life in the here and now on this tumbling ball of dirt is a reward in itself. Too often people who consider themselves spiritual speak of life as a thing we must get through in order to reach our true reward, like the vegetables we have to eat  before we get desert. Taurus rejects this point of view. For this sign the point of living is joy, and every instant of joy we manage to achieve is, in its own way, another tiny step toward our spiritual perfection.

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