Realism

Realism art has less to do with the photorealistic painting of images and has more to do with the realistic subject matter. Photorealism does play a part, but it is not always present in the paintings of Realism art.

Despite the introduction of the world into digital life, there are still billions of the population that still cherishes and adore art.

Realism art is accurately another branch of art paintings that has successfully conjured public brain-feed over the century and gaining lots of love from true art lovers themselves.

It entails art on a different scale; blunt, precise, photographic and obviously, realism. These forms of creativity are made to convey a subject matter with limited style, illusions or implausible situations thereby leaving no room for the supernatural elements.

 

 

Art History: A Quick Brief of Realism Art

1848 – Present

The artist sacrifices his creativity and imagination for hard-hitting information and the urgency to depict a story or situation.

Simply put; Realism art is everything but something that isn’t real.

The Realists were speaking out against the excessively fantastical trends in Romanticism that put the dramatic where it wasn’t genuine but ignored the dramatic in the realities of the world. They also disliked the romanticized portrayal of historical events in History Paintings, a movement that painted overly dramatic, even melodramatic, scenes from split-second moments in history.

The Realists strove to show the world as it really is through painting the truth of common situations in the lives of ordinary people. They did not flatter and they did not shy away from uncomfortable subjects, including no aim to paint the rich any differently than the poor.

Realism Art Origins and Historical Importance:

The world of the mid-19th century was one of intense change, seeing the advent of industrialization, the agricultural machine, and the increase in populations moving from rural areas into the cities. Realism first began in literature, somewhat in response to what was happening, as in the case of Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

“Beauty does not lie in the face. It lies in the harmony between a person and his or her industry. Beauty is an expression. When I paint a mother I try to render her beautiful by the mere look she gives her child”. – Jean Francois Millet

Realism became connected to the visual arts when the French novelist Champfleury, who edited the publication Le Realisme, promoted the work of the painter Gustave Courbet in his own publication,

Le Pamphlet in 1848. Several years later, when Courbet had been rejected for exhibition, he displayed anyway, displaying a sign that read “Le Realisme.”

the gleaners Realism Art

In what may have been considered a bold move by those that venerated historical and mythical figures, Courbet used large canvasses that were typically reserved for history paintings.

He painted in enormous scale and vivid detail the lives of common peasants in a space normally reserved for society’s most revered historical characters.

When we see men of worth, we should think of equalling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inward and examine ourselves”. – Gustave Courbet

The ideology behind the movement was, of course, felt by other painters and artists that became part of the movement. This also spread into other movements as well, particularly the subject matter, as can be seen in the subjects of some Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and then later in the Dada and other modern art movements.

More immediately, it spread to other countries. A group called the Peredvizhniki (Wanderers) popped up in Russia in the 1860s with Ilya Repin, and American Realism featured such artists such as James Abbot McNeill Whistler (and his famous mother) and George Bellows.

The Stone Breakers Realism Art

The Stone Breakers Realism Art

The proponents of Realism, namely its most famous artists, were often in trouble over their sometimes subversive works. Honore Daumier, in addition to his personal pursuits, was also a lithographer. He often satirized political and social figures in an unflattering light in major publications. He was jailed after printing a picture of the French King on the commode.

Courbet was jailed for his protest and destruction of the Vendome Column in France. His statement of warning about it is just short of saucy sarcasm, “In as much as the Vendôme column is a monument devoid of all artistic value, tending to perpetuate by its expression the ideas of war and conquest of the past imperial dynasty, which are reproved by a republican nation’s sentiment, citizen Courbet expresses the wish that the National Defense government will authorize him to disassemble this column.”

Although Realism in its prime took on social and political undertones, by the time the Impressionists arrived it had mostly dissipated in intensity. However, it left a lasting legacy of truth and emotional sincerity in the art that would last into our own time.

“Photography imitates everything and expresses nothing”.  – Honoré Daumier

Realism Art Key Highlights:

  • Realists preferred subject matter of common life and often sought out the ‘ideal’ French working landscape, night clubs, and what the upper class would have thought of as sordid and tawdry subjects. This inclination of realism would later be used in the work of the Post-Impressionist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
  • Realism eschewed the idea of the ideal as had been seen in the denied musculature of the Classic and Neo-Classic, the elongated exaggerated necks seen as beautiful during the Renaissance. They found freedom in painting what was actually in front of them.
  • Realism has spread and splintered into offshoots into our modern-day and includes American Realism, Social Realism, Socialist Realism, American Scene Painting, Hyperrealism, Photorealism, and Illusionistic Realism amongst others. Strangely, considering the initial reasons for realism, two odd movements are tied to realism – Surrealism and Magic Realism.
  • The actual name of the painting known as Whistler’s Mother is titled Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1.
  • Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto was published in 1848 the same year that Champfleury acknowledged Courbet in Le Pamphlet. The two are not directly related, but the Communist Manifesto did encourage the proletariat to rise up, and that is not entirely unrelated to the Realist’s desire to end the glorification of the upper classes in the artwork.

7 Top Realism Art Paintings:

Below is a brief list of some of the most famous Realism arts and what they stand for and what immaculate story is behind it.

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

Through the large glass window, you can see a small group of people seated in a downtown dinner in somewhat a later time of the night.

Inspired by a Greenwich Avenue restaurant, Edward Hopper crafts out an art gem that induces the viewer into awareness. This is considered to be one of the most prominent realism artworks

Like a puzzle, the piece is incomplete and Howard coveys the gloomy aftermath of the Second World War in the streets of Manhattan, where he grew up. 

Nighthawks Painting

Nighthawks Painting

Isolation, depravity, and a dark sadness is all you can see when your eyes feed on its details. The art ultimately reflects the hard life, struggle and hustle of individuals (both men and women) during one of the darkest days in American history and that is why the famous piece has been recognized and appreciated throughout the country and beyond.

It was sold on May 13th, 1942 to the Art Institute of Chicago for $3,000. A huge sum that year.

Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic) Painting by Thomas Eakins

Much like Edward, Thomas Eakins was indeed famed for individuality in his works and that is why it is termed as “one of the best American paintwork ever created”.

Eakins depicts famous and respected American surgeon Samuel D. Gross displaying one of his surgery sessions to a group of Jefferson Medical College students in Philadelphia.

Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic) Painting by Thomas Eakins

Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic) Painting by Thomas Eakins

The surgery happens to be an orthopedic one and Thomas himself can be sighted in the top left corner of the portrait. The painting oozes realism and taut detailing the forming of the most highly regarded artworks by Thomas Eakins.

Burial at Ornans by Gustav Courbet

Another famous realism art painting – In Ornans France, great-uncle Gustave Courbet is dead and all the townspeople are present to witness the burial of one of the most recognized American are works in history.

Read How Burial at Ornans by Gustav Courbet led to the rise of the Modern Art Movement

The realism and shocking narratives of the work is what has made is a classic piece of art not only in America but across the globe. 

A Burial At Ornans, Gustave Courbet:

A Burial At Ornans, Gustave Courbet:

Standing at a majestic 10 by 22 ft (about 3 t0 6m), Gustave Courbet makes a statement about the Realist movement, thereby almost single-handedly causing public mayhem on Romanticism in 185o eventually bringing about a turning point in both art and religious movements alike.

Christina’s World

A little more recently into the 20th century, Christina’s World reaches the heights of being one of the most favorite paintings just before the turn of the millennium. This is one of the most sought after modern art paintings 

Andrew Wyeth grew up in South Cushing in Maine close to a mysterious lady called Christina Olson who was the woman on his 1948 painting who was crawling helplessly across the field in the address. Miss Christina happened to have suffered degenerative muscular disorder which restricted her movement while she wanted to see the world but instead, it was limited to just a plain horizon.

Despite getting a rather sluggish reception, it has eventually grown a reputation for being one of the most important realism artworks.  

The Elder Sister Painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

William –Adolphe Bougeureau created the astonishing 130.2cm x 97.2 cm that shows a girl seated comfortably on a boulder carrying a little child who was fast asleep.

The Elder Sister Painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

The Elder Sister Painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

The name of the girl painted was his daughter Henriette and her little brother and the painter’s son, Paul. Behind Henriette, is a beautiful horizon with the greenest landscape to create from the mind.

His work, however, had a permanent collection and was placed amongst the “Arts of Europe” sections.

According to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the painting was first gifted to the institution which has now made it one of the most respected and cherished in European museums.

Interior

In 1968, Realism artist Edgar Degas came one of his most intricate and puzzling are exhibitions.

The painting clearly shows what looks like a marital dispute between two couples where the woman is barely dressed with a mischievous man behind her in the shadows. Almost everything about this art is unclear and that has caused a lot of uncertainties amongst scholars over the years. 

Interior by Edgar Degas

Interior by Edgar Degas

These scholars claimed that the painting was inspired by a stage play, confronting its lack of logic if not deeper meaning buried in there. Despite this, a renowned writer-journalist then reflects this otherworldly powerful scene by matching the scene in one of his books Therese Raguin.

La rencontre (Bonjour Monsieur Courbet) Painting by Gustave Courbet

It is no surprise the Gustave Courbet appears again in this list as he has already proven to be certainly one of the most influential artists of the 19th century with immaculate French Realism.

La rencontre (Bonjour Monsieur Courbet) Painting by Gustave Courbet

La rencontre (Bonjour Monsieur Courbet) Painting by Gustave Courbet

Standing at an astonishing 129 x 149 cm, the French painting was one of the first art pieces that contrived the words “Avant” (forward) and “garde” (an English troop). It was a greeting amongst war troops who were advocates of risk, flair, and fearlessness and had the rare ability to push ahead of the enemy lines and conquer battles.

Gustave made sure the message was passed; depicting himself as a traveling man meeting two noblemen on a gentle afternoon, “avant-garde” he greets.

The Frenchman explores the visual expression of an artist in breaking boundaries with their new ideas and setting the pace for the masses.

Realism Art – Conclusion

We live in a modern world with so many urgent issues including the neglect of true art. Realism art proves to be what we all need to go back to reflect these issues given its power to document contemporary culture while transmitting the basic details and consequences of the actions and decisions we make.

Realism art strengthens and hones the skills of a true artist and it is what the world needs today.

Art History Movements (Order by the period of origin)

Dawn of Man – BC 10

Paleolithic Art (Dawn of Man – 10,000 BC), Neolithic Art (8000 BC – 500 AD), Egyptian Art (3000 BC - 100 AD), Ancient Near Eastern Art (Neolithic era – 651 BC),  Bronze and Iron Age Art (3000 BC – Debated), Aegean Art (2800-100 BC), Archaic Greek Art (660-480 BC), Classical Greek Art (480-323 BC ), Hellenistic Art (323 BC – 27 BC), Etruscan Art (700 - 90 BC)

1st Century to 10th Century

Roman Art (500 BC – 500 AD), Celtic Art. Parthian and Sassanian Art (247 BC – 600 AD), Steppe Art (9000BC – 100 AD), Indian Art (3000 BC - current), Southeast Asian Art (2200 BC - Present), Chinese and Korean Art,  Japanese Art (11000 BC – Present),  Early Christian Art (260-525 AD,  Byzantine Art (330 – 1453 AD), Irish Art (3300 BC - Present), Anglo Saxon Art (450 – 1066 AD), Viking Art (780 AD-1100AD), Islamic Art (600 AD-Present)

10thCentury to 15th Century

Pre Columbian Art (13,000 BC – 1500 AD), North American Indian and Inuit Art (4000 BC - Present), African Art (),  Oceanic Art (1500 – 1615 AD), Carolingian Art (780-900 AD), Ottonian Art (900 -1050 AD), Romanesque Art (1000 AD – 1150 AD), Gothic Art (1100 – 1600 AD), The survival of Antiquity ()

Art History - 15th century onwards

Renaissance Style (1300-1700), The Northern Renaissance (1500 - 1615), Mannerism (1520 – 17th Century), The Baroque (1600-1700), The Rococo (1600-1700), Neo Classicism (1720 - 1830),  Romanticism (1790 -1890), Realism (1848 - Present), Impressionism (1860 - 1895), Post-Impressionism (1886 - 1904), Symbolism and Art Nouveau (1880 -1910), Fauvism , Expressionism (1898 - 1920), Cubism  . Futurism (1907-1928 )Abstract Art (1907 – Present Day), Dadasim,. Surrealism (1916 - 1970),. Latin American Art (1492 - Present, Modern American Art (1520 – 17th Century), Postwar European Art (1945 - 1970), Australian Art (28,000 BC - Present), South African Art (98,000 BC - Present)

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Realism  – Major Artworks

Art History Movements (Order by the period of origin)

Dawn of Man – BC 10

Paleolithic Art (Dawn of Man – 10,000 BC), Neolithic Art (8000 BC – 500 AD), Egyptian Art (3000 BC - 100 AD), Ancient Near Eastern Art (Neolithic era – 651 BC),  Bronze and Iron Age Art (3000 BC – Debated), Aegean Art (2800-100 BC), Archaic Greek Art (660-480 BC), Classical Greek Art (480-323 BC ), Hellenistic Art (323 BC – 27 BC), Etruscan Art (700 - 90 BC)

1st Century to 10th Century

Roman Art (500 BC – 500 AD), Celtic Art. Parthian and Sassanian Art (247 BC – 600 AD), Steppe Art (9000BC – 100 AD), Indian Art (3000 BC - current), Southeast Asian Art (2200 BC - Present), Chinese and Korean Art,  Japanese Art (11000 BC – Present),  Early Christian Art (260-525 AD,  Byzantine Art (330 – 1453 AD), Irish Art (3300 BC - Present), Anglo Saxon Art (450 – 1066 AD), Viking Art (780 AD-1100AD), Islamic Art (600 AD-Present)

10thCentury to 15th Century

Pre Columbian Art (13,000 BC – 1500 AD), North American Indian and Inuit Art (4000 BC - Present), African Art (),  Oceanic Art (1500 – 1615 AD), Carolingian Art (780-900 AD), Ottonian Art (900 -1050 AD), Romanesque Art (1000 AD – 1150 AD), Gothic Art (1100 – 1600 AD), The survival of Antiquity ()

Art History - 15th century onwards

Renaissance Style (1300-1700), The Northern Renaissance (1500 - 1615), Mannerism (1520 – 17th Century), The Baroque (1600-1700), The Rococo (1600-1700), Neo Classicism (1720 - 1830),  Romanticism (1790 -1890), Realism (1848 - Present), Impressionism (1860 - 1895), Post-Impressionism (1886 - 1904), Symbolism and Art Nouveau (1880 -1910), Fauvism , Expressionism (1898 - 1920), Cubism  . Futurism (1907-1928 )Abstract Art (1907 – Present Day), Dadasim,. Surrealism (1916 - 1970),. Latin American Art (1492 - Present, Modern American Art (1520 – 17th Century), Postwar European Art (1945 - 1970), Australian Art (28,000 BC - Present), South African Art (98,000 BC - Present)