Realism (324)

Realism in the visual arts is a style that depicts the actuality of what the eyes can see. The term is used in different senses in art history, it may mean the same as illusionism, the representation of subjects with visual mimesis or verisimilitude, or may mean an emphasis on the actuality of subjects, depicting them without idealization, and not omitting their sordid aspects. Works may be realist in either of these senses, or both. Use of the two senses can be confusing, but depending on context the second sense is perhaps more common.

Realism as a tendency in 19th century art was related to similar movements in the theatre, literature and opera. All emphasized the depiction of everyday subjects, but by no means always discarding classical, Romantic or sentimental approaches to their treatment. The movement began in the 1850s in France. One of Gustave Courbet's most important works is A Burial at Ornans, 1849-1850, a canvas recording an event which he witnessed in September 1848. Courbet's painting of the funeral of his grand uncle became the first grand statement of the Realist style.

Realism in the illusionistic sense appears in art as early as 2400 BC in the city of Lothal in what is now India, and examples can be found throughout the history of art - Ancient Egyptian art had rigid and artificial conventions for the depiction of the human figure, but minor figures and animals are often very well-observed, and lifelike. In the broadest sense, realism in a work of art exists wherever something has been well observed and accurately depicted, even if the work as a whole does not strictly conform to the conditions of realism.

The art of ancient Greece made particular progress in developing realistic depictions of both the human figure and its surroundings, in sculpture and painting. In the Late Antique period realism largely ceased to be a priority for artists, and the recovery of the realist tradition is a constant strand in the history of Western medieval art.

For example, the proto-Renaissance painter Giotto di Bondone brought a new realism to the art of painting by rendering physical space and volume far more convincingly than his Gothic predecessors. His paintings, like theirs, represented biblical scenes and the lives of the saints. In the Early Renaissance, the development of a system of linear perspective in Italy, and the inclusion of naturalistic detail in Early Netherlandish painting both contributed to the advance of realism in Western painting in different ways.

In the late 16th century, the prevailing mode in European art was Mannerism, an artificial art of elongated figures in graceful but unlikely poses. Caravaggio emerged to change the direction of art by depicting religious figures as the Italian poor in their natural surroundings, though composed with Baroque energy.

A fondness for humble subjects and homely details characterizes much of Dutch art, and Rembrandt is an outstanding realist in the naturalist sense with his renunciation of the ideal and his embrace of the life around him. In the 19th century a group of French landscape artists known as the Barbizon School emphasized close observation of nature, paving the way for the Impressionists.

In England the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood rejected what they saw as the formulaic idealism of the followers of Raphael, which led some of them to an art of intense illusionistic, and sometimes naturalistic, realism. The final years and aftermath of the First World War saw a return of realism and of styles dating back to before Post-Impressionism, in the so-called "Return to Order" - this became known as "Neo-Realism" or "Modern Realism" in England (led by Meredith Frampton, Charles Ginner, Harold Gilman and the Euston Road School), traditionisme in France (led by Andre Derain) and "Neue Sachlichkeit" (led by Otto Dix and Christian Schad) and "Magic Realism" in Germany.

Trompe l'oeil (literally, "fool the eye"), a technique which creates the illusion that the objects depicted actually exist, is an extreme example of artistic realism. Examples of this tendency can be found in art from antiquity to the present day

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In A Roman Osteria

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$259

A Burial at Ornans

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$1,857

Samson And The Philistines

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$279

The Bathers 1853

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$757

The Meeting Or "Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet" 1854

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$817

Christ The Consolator

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$269

Christ And Child

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$309

The artist's Studio

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$1,127

The Resurrection

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$269

The Sleepers 1866

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$1,017

Suffer The Children

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$249

The Wave 1869

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$717

Christ On The Cross

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$249

Les Demoiselles Des Bords De La Seine 1856

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$837

Jesus Tempted

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$319

The Desperate Man 1843

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$847

The Doubting Thomas

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$349

The Wheat Sifters 1854

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$637

Christ In Gethsemane

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$279

Young Ladies of the Village

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$647

The Sermon On The Mount

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$249

La Sieste

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$607

Louis Gueymard as Robert Le Diable 1857

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$667

Jesus Casting Out The Money Changers At The Temple

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$259

The Burial

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$259

Fox in the Snow 1860

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$737

The Last Supper

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$259

Fox Caught in a Trap 1860

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$627

The Denial Of Peter

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$249

Three Young Englishwomen by a Window 1865

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$607

The Twelve Year Old Jesus In The Temple

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$319

A Young Woman Reading

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$787

Woman At The Well

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$279

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Et Ses Enfants

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$947

The Birth Of Jesus

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$279

Portait De Baudelaire

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$867

Jo, La Belle Irlandaise

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$837

The Sheperds And The Angel

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$239

Jo, the Beautiful Irish Girl 1866

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$867

Christ Healing The Sick

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$279

The Wrestlers 1853

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$837

A Monk Examines Himself In A Mirror

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$269

Lovers in the Countryside 1844

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$897

Two Wives Talking Together

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$279

The Bohemian and Her Children

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$577

Two Old Men Sitting In The Shadow, Hornbæk

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$269

Hunter On Horseback 1864

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$597

A Young Baker Cooling Down

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$279

La Sieste

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$767

Old Men In A Public House

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$399

Femme Dans Un Hamac

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$647

The Actor Kristian Mantzius In His Study

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$249

The Trout 1872

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$807

Deer Running in the Snow

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$757

A Meal Two Boys And A Grandmother Tasting The Potato Soup

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$259

The Woman in the Waves 1868

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$837

The Sailor

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$279

The Young Bather 1866

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$917

A Fisherboy

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$269

Bather Sleeping by a Brook 1845

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$867

Head Of An Italian Boy

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$259

Nude with Flowering Branch 1863

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$847

Moonlight

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$259

Woman with a Parrot 1866

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$1,057

Evening Landscape With A House And Garden By The Sea Ellekilde

By Carl Heinrich Bloch
Sizes starting at
$259

Femme Nue Couchée 1862

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$917

Femme Endormie

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$867

Nude Woman with a Dog

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$867

Woman with White Stockings 1861

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$867

The Source 1862

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$1,077

Gypsy in Reflection 1869

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$787

The Man Made Mad with Fear

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$787

The Black Rocks at Trouville

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$617

La Trombe

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$607

La Vague

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$657

La Vague

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$667

The Waterspout 1870

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$687

La Falaise

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$667

Squall On the Horizon

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$657

After the Storm, 1872

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$767

Beach Scene with a Boat

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$587

Calm Sea 1866

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$587

Low Tide at Trouville 1865

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$627

The Calm Sea 1869

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$597

Marine

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$597

The Seaside at Palavas 1854

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$597

The Sea 1865

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$597

The Wave 1869

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$617

Mar Borrascoso 1850

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$617

The Wave

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$637

Waves 1870

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$617

Autumn Sea 1867

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$657

The Wave 1869

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$677

Marine 1869

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$687

The Wave 1871

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$737

Waves 1869

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$917

Les Bords De La Mer À Palavas 1854

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$607

Bords De La Mer, Palavas

By Gustave Courbet
Sizes starting at
$667

Realism (324)

Realism in the visual arts is a style that depicts the actuality of what the eyes can see. The term is used in different senses in art history, it may mean the same as illusionism, the representation of subjects with visual mimesis or verisimilitude, or may mean an emphasis on the actuality of subjects, depicting them without idealization, and not omitting their sordid aspects. Works may be realist in either of these senses, or both. Use of the two senses can be confusing, but depending on context the second sense is perhaps more common.

Realism as a tendency in 19th century art was related to similar movements in the theatre, literature and opera. All emphasized the depiction of everyday subjects, but by no means always discarding classical, Romantic or sentimental approaches to their treatment. The movement began in the 1850s in France. One of Gustave Courbet's most important works is A Burial at Ornans, 1849-1850, a canvas recording an event which he witnessed in September 1848. Courbet's painting of the funeral of his grand uncle became the first grand statement of the Realist style.

Realism in the illusionistic sense appears in art as early as 2400 BC in the city of Lothal in what is now India, and examples can be found throughout the history of art - Ancient Egyptian art had rigid and artificial conventions for the depiction of the human figure, but minor figures and animals are often very well-observed, and lifelike. In the broadest sense, realism in a work of art exists wherever something has been well observed and accurately depicted, even if the work as a whole does not strictly conform to the conditions of realism.

The art of ancient Greece made particular progress in developing realistic depictions of both the human figure and its surroundings, in sculpture and painting. In the Late Antique period realism largely ceased to be a priority for artists, and the recovery of the realist tradition is a constant strand in the history of Western medieval art.

For example, the proto-Renaissance painter Giotto di Bondone brought a new realism to the art of painting by rendering physical space and volume far more convincingly than his Gothic predecessors. His paintings, like theirs, represented biblical scenes and the lives of the saints. In the Early Renaissance, the development of a system of linear perspective in Italy, and the inclusion of naturalistic detail in Early Netherlandish painting both contributed to the advance of realism in Western painting in different ways.

In the late 16th century, the prevailing mode in European art was Mannerism, an artificial art of elongated figures in graceful but unlikely poses. Caravaggio emerged to change the direction of art by depicting religious figures as the Italian poor in their natural surroundings, though composed with Baroque energy.

A fondness for humble subjects and homely details characterizes much of Dutch art, and Rembrandt is an outstanding realist in the naturalist sense with his renunciation of the ideal and his embrace of the life around him. In the 19th century a group of French landscape artists known as the Barbizon School emphasized close observation of nature, paving the way for the Impressionists.

In England the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood rejected what they saw as the formulaic idealism of the followers of Raphael, which led some of them to an art of intense illusionistic, and sometimes naturalistic, realism. The final years and aftermath of the First World War saw a return of realism and of styles dating back to before Post-Impressionism, in the so-called "Return to Order" - this became known as "Neo-Realism" or "Modern Realism" in England (led by Meredith Frampton, Charles Ginner, Harold Gilman and the Euston Road School), traditionisme in France (led by Andre Derain) and "Neue Sachlichkeit" (led by Otto Dix and Christian Schad) and "Magic Realism" in Germany.

Trompe l'oeil (literally, "fool the eye"), a technique which creates the illusion that the objects depicted actually exist, is an extreme example of artistic realism. Examples of this tendency can be found in art from antiquity to the present day

Read more
Page