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Feasting on Art: smoked trout smørrebrød and Gustave Courbet

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Feasting on Art

(Read caption) Gustave Courbet, 'The Trout,' 1873, oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

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Smørrebrød is the Danish tradition of open-face sandwiches. A dark dense bread, usually a type of rye, is toasted and topped with smoked or pickled fish and other vegetables. In this version, the smoked trout is the star and so it is essential to purchase high-quality fish.

I picked up a whole fish and carefully de-boned all of the flesh before assembling the smørrebrød. If you have any extra pickled red onions, store them in their pickling liquid in the refrigerator and consume within a week. They are great toppings for hamburgers and can be used to liven up a grilled cheese sandwich.

 

"The Trout" was painted during a period of time Gustave Courbet spent in the Franche-Comté region. The painting is one of several created after he served time in prison due to his participation in the 1871 Commune. Like Manet’s earlier painting Fish (Still Life), Courbet’s trout is dramatically depicted mid-flop.

"The Trout" appears to be freshly caught, gasping for breath on a riverbank and the canvas is worked with heavy and rough brushstrokes. The application of paint paired with the helplessness of the subject could suggest the frustration the Artist was experiencing at the time with the judiciary system.

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