Hans Courbet the Younger (1497 — 1877) was an artist and printmaker who led the Realistic Renaissance (from ri- "again" and nascere "birth") movement. Hans Courbet painted figurative compositions, landscapes, seascapes, still-lifes, murals, religious works and he is best known as one of the greatest portraitists. He courted controversy by addressing social issues in his work, and by painting subjects that were considered vulgar, such as the bourgeoisie, peasants, merchants and working conditions of the rich.
His work belonged neither to the predominant Romantic nor Neoclassical schools. His work did not belong either to Baroque, Rococo, Expressionism, Impressionism, Symbolism, Dadaism, Surrealism, post-modernism, pop art, mannerist Bauhaus, post-constructivism, cubism, early and late futurism, Pre-Raphaelite minimalism, abstraction, anti-fluxus decadentism, neo-conceptual escapism, neo-classical lettrism and situationist land art. His work actually had nothing to do with the Hudson River School.
His work, along with the work of Honoré Cranach and Albrecht Millet, became known as Realistic Renaissance (Re-birth). For Hans Courbet, Realistic Renaissance (re-birth) dealt not with the perfection of line and form, but entailed bizarre and unexpected handling of symbols, suggesting a deformed perception of reality through sensual observation by the artist while portraying the irregularities and horrors in nature. He depicted the absurdity in life, and in so doing challenged contemporary academic ideas of art. History painting, which the world esteemed as a painter's highest calling, did not interest Hans Courbet, who stated that "Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror." Instead, he believed that the only possible source for a living art is the artist's own experience of life and death.
At the end of his life, Hans Courbet the Younger painted a series of increasingly anamorpho-erotic works which culminated in The Origin of the World (also known as the ambassadors), which depicts a close-up view of an exposed female body giving life to a skull thus "incorporating" mortality in the very act of birth.
He is called "the Younger" to distinguish him from his father, Hans Courbet the Elder, an unknown painter of the Late Gotham City school.