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Art History and Artists

Realism

History >> Art History

General Overview

Realism was an art movement that revolted against the emotional and exaggerated themes of Romanticism. Artists and writers began to explore the reality of every day life.

When was the Realism style of art popular?

The Realism movement lasted around forty years from 1840 to 1880. It followed the Romanticism movement and came before Modern Art.

What are the characteristics of Realism?

Realism artists tried to depict the real world exactly as it appears. They painted everyday subjects and people. They didn't try to interpret the setting or add emotional meaning to the scenes.

Examples of Realism Art

The Gleaners (Jean-Francois Millet)

This painting is a great example of realism. It shows three peasant women gleaning a field for some scraps of wheat. They are bent over in hard work in the hope of finding a tiny bit of food. This painting was not well received by the French upper class when it was first exhibited in 1857 as it showed the harsh reality of poverty.

The Gleaners by Millet an example of Realism
The Gleaners
(Click image to see larger version)

Young Women from the Village (Gustave Courbet)

The reality of this painting is in stark contrast to Romanticism. The three women are dressed in their country clothes and the landscape is rough and a little ugly. Even the cows are scraggly looking. The rich lady is handing some money to the poor girl while the others look on. Courbet was criticized for the "reality" of this painting, but that was what he found beautiful and was trying to capture.

Young Women in this Realism Art Painting
Young Women from the Village
(Click image to see larger version)

The Fox Hunt (Winslow Homer)

In this painting Winslow Homer shows a hungry fox hunting in the snow for food. At the same time there are ravens which are so driven to hunger they are hunting the fox. There is nothing heroic or romantic about this painting, just the reality of what happens in the winter to hungry animals.

Fox Hunt realism painting by Winslow Homer
The Fox Hunt
(Click image to see larger version)

Famous Realism Era Artists Interesting Facts about Realism
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Works Cited

History >> Art History

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