Original Realism Paintings

In art history, Realism refers to a period in the mid-nineteenth century when artists rejected the dramatic and Neo-Classical themes of Romanticism. Instead, artists began to favor the portrayal of things as they really appeared and subject matter such as ordinary objects, and the common man performing tasks in everyday settings. As a general artistic term, Realism means a literal representation of people, objects, places and/or situations. With the introduction of Impressionist, Abstract, Surrealist art, etc. Realism is sometimes discounted as playing an important role in the current art world. Yet for classically trained artists, learning to draw realistically from life and nature is fundamental. This painting style typically focuses on the depiction of commonplace subjects. The composition is balanced. The perspective is not abstracted or distorted in any way. Having an almost photographic quality, the colors are more or less true-to-life. As with Pop Art, visible brushstrokes are difficult to find in realism. A smooth surface is achieved with small and carefully applied brushstrokes.

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The Realist movement is considered to be the first form of “modern art” as we know it today. It is known for is principles of depicting the gritty reality of everyday life with complete dedication to honesty and accuracy, regardless of the social class its subject belongs to. Realism was driven by its desire to merge art with daily life, and the invention of photography in the mid-1800s further fueled the Realist painter’s aspiration to depict their subjects with as much accuracy as possible, not glossing over or leaving out any unsightly detail.

Realism began in France in the 1840s and reflected the changes brought about by the Industrial and Commercial Revolutions. It rejected the melodrama and glorification of historical achievements that its predecessor Romanticism praised, instead choosing to focus on the “slice-of-life” of the working class. Realism was a reaction to the widespread social change of the era, and gave the marginalized members of society the same weight and focus previously reserved for the aristocratic class.