In examining the critiques of this one self-portrait, Man with a Pipe, a multitude of interpretations arise. However, some commonalties can also be found: the idea that the painting is meant to represent the mood and inner climate of the smoker; the sense of the artist moving away from artistic conventions; and an attempt by the artist to find himself.
"Smoke Signals: Courbet’s Man With A Pipe, and What It Tells Us,"
Colgate Academic Review:
Vol. 3, Article 4.
Available at: http://commons.colgate.edu/car/vol3/iss1/4