realism (arts)
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Realism in
the arts The arts are a very wide range of human practices of creative expression, storytelling Storytelling is the social and cultural activity of sharing narrative, stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatre, theatrics or embellishment. E ...
is generally the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without
artificiality Artificiality (the state of being artificial or manmade) is the state of being the product of intentional human manufacture, rather than occurring nature, naturally through processes not involving or requiring human activity. Connotations Artific ...
and avoiding speculative and supernatural elements. The term is often used interchangeably with naturalism, although these terms are not synonymous. Naturalism, as an idea relating to visual representation in Western art, seeks to depict objects with the least possible amount of distortion and is tied to the development of
linear perspective Linear or point-projection perspective (from la, perspicere 'to see through') is one of two types of 3D projection, graphical projection perspective in the graphic arts; the other is parallel projection. Linear perspective is an approximate r ...
and
illusionism Illusionism in art history means either the artistic tradition in which artists create a work of art that appears to share the physical space with the viewer"Illusionism," ''Grove Art Online''. Oxford University Press, ccessed 17 March 2008 ...
in
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
Europe. Realism, while predicated upon naturalistic representation and a departure from the idealization of earlier
academic art Academic art, or academicism or academism, is a style of painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface (called the "matrix" or "support"). The medium is commonly applied to the ...
, often refers to a specific art historical movement that originated in France in the aftermath of the
French Revolution of 1848 The French Revolution of 1848 (french: Révolution française de 1848), also known as the February Revolution (), was a brief period of civil unrest in France, in February 1848, that led to the collapse of the July Monarchy and the foundation ...
. With artists like
Gustave Courbet Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet ( , , ; 10 June 1819 – 31 December 1877) was a French painter who led the Realism (art movement), Realism movement in 19th-century French painting. Committed to painting only what he could see, he rejected ac ...
capitalizing on the mundane, ugly or sordid, realism was motivated by the renewed interest in the common man and the rise of
leftist Left-wing politics describes the range of Ideology#Political%20ideologies, political ideologies that support and seek to achieve social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. Left-wing politics typically in ...
politics. The Realist painters rejected
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic movement or Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate ...
, which had come to dominate French literature and art, with roots in the late
18th century The 18th century lasted from January 1, 1701 (Roman numerals, MDCCI) to December 31, 1800 (Roman numerals, MDCCC). During the 18th century, elements of Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinking culminated in the American Revolution, Ameri ...
. In 19th-century Europe, "Naturalism" or the "Naturalist school" was somewhat artificially erected as a term representing a breakaway sub-movement of realism, that attempted (not wholly successfully) to distinguish itself from its parent by its avoidance of politics and social issues, and liked to proclaim a quasi-scientific basis, playing on the sense of "naturalist" as a student of natural history, as the
biological sciences Biology is the science, scientific study of life. It is a natural science with a broad scope but has several unifying themes that tie it together as a single, coherent field. For instance, all organisms are made up of Cell (biology), cells t ...
were then generally known. There have been various movements invoking realism in the other arts, such as the
opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a ...
style of
verismo In opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a li ...
,
literary realism Literary realism is a literary genre, part of the broader realism in arts, that attempts to represent subject-matter truthfully, avoiding speculative fiction and supernatural elements. It originated with the realist art movement that began wit ...
, theatrical realism, and Italian neorealist cinema.


Visual arts

When used as an
adjective An adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that describes a noun or noun phrase. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun. Traditionally, adjectives were considered one of the main part of speech, par ...
, "realistic" (usually related to visual appearance) distinguishes itself from "realist" art that concerns subject matter. Similarly, the term "illusionistic" might be used when referring to the accurate rendering of visual appearances in a composition. In painting, naturalism is the precise, detailed and accurate representation in art of the appearance of scenes and objects. It is also called
mimesis Mimesis (; grc, μίμησις, ''mīmēsis'') is a term used in literary criticism and philosophy that carries a wide range of meanings, including ''imitatio'', imitation, nonsensuous similarity, receptivity, representation (arts), representa ...
or
illusionism Illusionism in art history means either the artistic tradition in which artists create a work of art that appears to share the physical space with the viewer"Illusionism," ''Grove Art Online''. Oxford University Press, ccessed 17 March 2008 ...
and becomes especially marked in European painting in the
Early Netherlandish painting Early Netherlandish painting, traditionally known as the Flemish Primitives, refers to the work of artists active in the Burgundian Netherlands, Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance period. ...
of
Robert Campin Robert Campin (c. 1375 – 26 April 1444), now usually identified with the Master of Flémalle (earlier the Master of the Merode Triptych, before the discovery of three other similar panels), was the first great master of Early Netherlandish paint ...
,
Jan van Eyck Jan van Eyck ( , ; – July 9, 1441) was a painter active in Bruges who was one of the early innovators of what became known as Early Netherlandish painting, and one of the most significant representatives of Early Northern Renaissance art. Ac ...
and other artists in the 15th century. In the 19th-century,
Realism art movement Realism was an Periods_in_Western_art_history, artistic movement that emerged in France in the 1840s, around the French Revolution of 1848, 1848 Revolution. Realists rejected Romanticism, which had dominated French literature and art since the e ...
painters such as
Gustave Courbet Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet ( , , ; 10 June 1819 – 31 December 1877) was a French painter who led the Realism (art movement), Realism movement in 19th-century French painting. Committed to painting only what he could see, he rejected ac ...
were not especially noted for fully precise and careful depiction of visual appearances; in Courbet's time that was more often a characteristic of
academic painting Academic art, or academicism or academism, is a style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies of art. Specifically, academic art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie d ...
, which very often depicted with great skill and care scenes that were contrived and artificial, or imagined historical scenes. It is the choice and treatment of subject matter that defines Realism as a movement in painting, rather than the careful attention to visual appearances.


Resisting idealization

Realism or naturalism as a style meaning the honest, unidealizing depiction of the subject, can be used in depicting any type of subject, without any commitment to treating the typical or everyday. Despite the general idealism of classical art, this too had classical precedents, which came in useful when defending such treatments in the Renaissance and
Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a Style (visual arts), style of Baroque architecture, architecture, Baroque music, music, Baroque dance, dance, Baroque painting, painting, Baroque sculpture, sculpture, poetry, and other arts that flourished in Europe from ...
.
Demetrius of Alopece Demetrius of AlopeceAlopece (Ἀλωπεκή) was a deme of Classical Athens. ( el, Δημήτριος), was a Greece, Greek sculpture, sculptor of the early part of the 4th century BC, who is said by ancient critics to have been notable for the lif ...
was a 4th-century BCE sculptor whose work (all now lost) was said to prefer realism over ideal beauty, and during the Ancient Roman Republic even politicians preferred a truthful depiction in portraits, though the early emperors favoured Greek idealism.
Goya Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (; ; 30 March 174616 April 1828) was a Spanish Romanticism, romantic painter and Printmaking, printmaker. He is considered the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His p ...
's portraits of the Spanish royal family represent a sort of peak in the honest and downright unflattering portrayal of important persons. A recurring trend in
Christian art Christian art is sacred art which uses subjects, themes, and imagery from Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings ...
was "realism" that emphasized the humanity of religious figures, above all
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 or 33), also referred to as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth (among other Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament, names and titles), was ...
and his physical sufferings in his Passion. Following trends in
devotional literature Christian devotional literature (also called devotionals or Christian living literature) is religious writing that Christianity, Christian individuals read for their personal growth and spiritual formation. Such literature often takes the form of C ...
, this developed in the
Late Middle Ages The Late Middle Ages or Late Medieval Period was the Periodization, period of European history lasting from AD 1300 to 1500. The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern period (and in much of Eur ...
, where some painted wooden sculptures in particular strayed into the grotesque in portraying Christ covered in wounds and blood, with the intention of stimulating the viewer to meditate on the suffering that Christ had undergone on his behalf. These were especially found in Germany and
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural identity. The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) between Catholic Church, Catholicism and Protestanti ...
. After abating in the Renaissance, similar works re-appeared in the
Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a Style (visual arts), style of Baroque architecture, architecture, Baroque music, music, Baroque dance, dance, Baroque painting, painting, Baroque sculpture, sculpture, poetry, and other arts that flourished in Europe from ...
, especially in Spanish sculpture. Renaissance theorists opened a debate, which was to last several centuries, as to the correct balance between drawing art from the observation of nature and from idealized forms, typically those found in classical models, or the work of other artists generally. All admitted the importance of the natural, but many believed it should be idealized to various degrees to include only the beautiful.
Leonardo da Vinci Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (15 April 14522 May 1519) was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance who was active as a painter, Drawing, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect. While his fame initially res ...
was one who championed the pure study of nature, and wished to depict the whole range of individual varieties of forms in the human figure and other things.
Leon Battista Alberti Leon Battista Alberti (; 14 February 1404 – 25 April 1472) was an Italian Renaissance humanist author, artist, architect, poet, Catholic priest, priest, linguistics, linguist, philosopher, and cryptography, cryptographer; he epitomised the natu ...
was an early idealizer, stressing the typical, with others such as
Michelangelo Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (; 6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), known as Michelangelo (), was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance. Born in the Republic of Florence, his work was insp ...
supporting selection of the most beautiful – he refused to make portraits for that reason. In the 17th century the debate continued, in Italy usually centred on the contrast between the relative "classical-idealism" of
the Carracci The Carracci ( , , ) were a Bolognese family of artists that played an instrumental role in bringing forth the Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a Style (visual arts), style of Baroque architecture, architecture, Baroque music, music, Baroque ...
and the "naturalist" style of the
Caravaggisti The Caravaggisti (or the "Caravagesques") were stylistic followers of the late 16th-century Italian Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a Style (visual arts), style of Baroque architecture, architecture, Baroque music, music, Baroque dance, dance, B ...
, or followers of
Caravaggio Michelangelo Merisi (Michele Angelo Merigi or Amerighi) da Caravaggio, known as simply Caravaggio (, , ; 29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610), was an Italian painter active in Rome for most of his artistic life. During the final four years of hi ...
, who painted religious scenes as though set in the back streets of contemporary Italian cities, and used "naturalist" as a self-description. Bellori, writing some decades after Caravaggio's early death, and no supporter of his style, refers to "Those who glory in the name of naturalists" (''naturalisti''). During the 19th-century, naturalism developed as a broadly defined movement in European art, though it lacked the political underpinnings that motivated realist artist. The originator of the term was the French art critic
Jules-Antoine Castagnary Jules-Antoine Castagnary (11 April 1830 – 11 May 1888) was a French liberal politician, journalist and progressive and influential art critic, who embraced the new term "Impressionist" in his positive and perceptive review of the first Impression ...
, who in 1863 announced that: "The naturalist school declares that art is the expression of life under all phases and on all levels, and that its sole aim is to reproduce nature by carrying it to its maximum power and intensity: it is truth balanced with science".Needham Émile Zola adopted the term with a similar scientific emphasis for his aims in the novel. Much Naturalist painting covered a similar range of subject matter as that of
Impressionism Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement characterized by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open Composition (visual arts), composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating ...
, but using tighter, more traditional brushwork styles, and in landscapes often with more gloomy weather. The term "continued to be used indiscriminately for various kinds of realism" for several decades, often as a catch-all term for art that was outside Impressionism and later movements of
Modernism Modernism is both a philosophy, philosophical and arts movement that arose from broad transformations in Western world, Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement reflected a desire for the creation of new fo ...
and also was not
academic art Academic art, or academicism or academism, is a style of painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface (called the "matrix" or "support"). The medium is commonly applied to the ...
. The later periods of the French
Barbizon School The Barbizon school of painters were part of an art movement towards Realism (arts), Realism in art, which arose in the context of the dominant Romanticism, Romantic Movement of the time. The Barbizon school was active roughly from 1830 thro ...
and the Düsseldorf school of painting, with its students from many countries, and in 20th-century American Regionalism are movements which are often also described as "Naturalist", although the term is rarely used of British painting. Some recent art historians have deepened the confusion by claiming either Courbet or the Impressionists for the label. File:Pieta z Lubiaza.jpg, Late Gothic '' Pietà'' from Lubiąż in
Lower Silesia Lower Silesia ( pl, Dolny Śląsk; cz, Dolní Slezsko; german: Niederschlesien; szl, Dolny Ślōnsk; hsb, Delnja Šleska; dsb, Dolna Šlazyńska; Silesian German: ''Niederschläsing''; la, Silesia Inferior) is the northwestern part of the ...
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative provinces called Voivodeships of Poland, voivodeships, covering an area of . Poland has a population of over 38 million and is ...
, now in National Museum in
Warsaw Warsaw ( pl, Warszawa, ), officially the Capital City of Warsaw,, abbreviation: ''m.st. Warszawa'' is the capital and List of cities and towns in Poland, largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula, River Vistula in east-cen ...
File:Raffaelli Pariser Vorstadt.JPG, Jean-François Raffaëlli, ''Outskirts of Paris'', 1880s File:Fallen Monarchs 1886 by William Bliss Baker.jpg, William Bliss Baker, American Naturalist painter, ''Fallen Monarchs'', 1886 File:Pekka Halonen - Tienraivaajia Karjalassa.jpg,
Pekka Halonen Pekka Halonen (23 September 1865 – 1 December 1933) was a painter of Finnish landscapes and people in the Romantic nationalism, national romantic style. His favorite subjects were the Finnish landscape and its people which he depicted in his Rea ...
, Finnish Naturalist, ''Pioneers in
Karelia Karelia (Karelian language, Karelian and fi, Karjala, ; rus, Каре́лия, links=y, r=Karélija, p=kɐˈrʲelʲɪjə, historically ''Korjela''; sv, Karelen), the land of the Karelians, Karelian people, is an area in Northern Europe of ...
'', 1900


Illusionism

The development of increasingly accurate representation of the visual appearances of things has a long history in art. It includes elements such as the accurate depiction of the anatomy of humans and animals, of perspective and effects of distance, and of detailed effects of light and colour. The
Art of the Upper Paleolithic The art of the Upper Paleolithic represents the oldest form of prehistoric art. Figurative art is present in prehistoric Europe, Europe and Prehistoric Indonesia, Southeast Asia, beginning between about 40,000 to 35,000 years ago. Non-figura ...
in Europe achieved remarkably lifelike depictions of animals, and
Ancient Egyptian art Ancient Egyptian art refers to art produced in ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Do ...
developed conventions involving both
stylization In the visual arts, style is a "...distinctive manner which permits the grouping of works into related categories" or "...any distinctive, and therefore recognizable, way in which an act is performed or an artifact made or ought to be performed a ...
and idealization that nevertheless allowed very effective depictions to be produced very widely and consistently.
Ancient Greek art Ancient Greek art stands out among that of other ancient cultures for its development of naturalistic but idealized depictions of the human body, in which largely nude male figures were generally the focus of innovation. The rate of stylistic d ...
is commonly recognised as having made great progress in the representation of anatomy, and has remained an influential model ever since. No original works on panels or walls by the great Greek painters survive, but from literary accounts, and the surviving corpus of derivative works (mostly Graeco-Roman works in
mosaic A mosaic is a pattern or image made of small regular or irregular pieces of colored stone, glass or ceramic, held in place by plaster/mortar, and covering a surface. Mosaics are often used as floor and wall decoration, and were particularly pop ...
) it is clear that illusionism was highly valued in painting.
Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman Empire, Roman author, Natural history, naturalist and Natural philosophy, natural philosopher, and naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and a friend of t ...
's famous story of birds pecking at grapes painted by Zeuxis in the 5th century BC may well be a legend, but indicates the aspiration of Greek painting. As well as accuracy in shape, light and colour, Roman paintings show an unscientific but effective knowledge of representing distant objects smaller than closer ones, and representing regular geometric forms such as the roof and walls of a room with perspective. This progress in illusionistic effects in no way meant a rejection of idealism; statues of Greek gods and heroes attempt to represent with accuracy idealized and beautiful forms, though other works, such as heads of the famously ugly
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher from Classical Athens, Athens who is credited as the founder of Western philosophy and among the first moral philosophers of the Ethics, ethical tradition of thought. An enigmati ...
, were allowed to fall below these ideal standards of beauty.
Roman portraiture Roman portraiture was one of the most significant periods in the development of portrait A portrait is a painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface (called the "matrix" or "s ...
, when not under too much Greek influence, shows a greater commitment to a truthful depiction of its subjects, called verism. The art of Late Antiquity famously rejected illusionism for expressive force, a change already well underway by the time Christianity began to affect the art of the elite. In the West classical standards of illusionism did not begin to be reached again until the
Late medieval The Late Middle Ages or Late Medieval Period was the Periodization, period of European history lasting from AD 1300 to 1500. The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern period (and in much of Eur ...
and
Early Renaissance Renaissance art (1350 – 1620 AD) is the painting, sculpture, and decorative arts of the period of European history known as the Renaissance, which emerged as a distinct style in Italy in about AD 1400, in parallel with developments which occ ...
periods, and were helped, first in the Netherlands in the early 15th century, and around the 1470s in Italy, by the development of new techniques of
oil painting Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments with a medium of drying oil as the Binder (material), binder. It has been the most common technique for artistic painting on wood panel or canvas for several centuries, spreading from Eur ...
which allowed very subtle and precise effects of light to be painted using very small brushes and several layers of paint and glaze. Scientific methods of representing perspective were developed in Italy in the early 15th century and gradually spread across Europe, and accuracy in anatomy rediscovered under the influence of classical art. As in classical times,
idealism In philosophy, the term idealism identifies and describes metaphysics, metaphysical perspectives which assert that reality is indistinguishable and inseparable from perception and understanding; that reality is a mental construct closely con ...
remained the norm. The accurate depiction of landscape in painting had also been developing in Early Netherlandish/Early Northern Renaissance and Italian Renaissance painting, and was then brought to a very high level in 17th-century
Dutch Golden Age painting Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history roughly spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) for Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republi ...
, with very subtle techniques for depicting a range of weather conditions and degrees of natural light. After being another development of Early Netherlandish painting, by 1600 European portraiture could give a very good likeness in both painting and sculpture, though the subjects were often idealized by smoothing features or giving them an artificial pose.
Still life A still life (plural: still lifes) is a work of art depicting mostly wikt:inanimate, inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which are either natural (food, flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, shells, etc.) or artificiality, m ...
paintings, and still life elements in other works, played a considerable role in developing illusionistic painting, though in the Netherlandish tradition of flower painting they long lacked "realism", in that flowers from all seasons were typically used, either from the habit of assembling compositions from individual drawings, or as a deliberate convention; the large displays of bouquets in vases, though close to modern displays of cut flowers that they have influenced, were entirely atypical of 17th-century habits, where flowers were displayed one at a time. Intriguingly, having led the development of illusionic painting, still life was to be equally significant in its abandonment in
Cubism Cubism is an early-20th-century avant-garde art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture. In Cubist artwork, objects are analyzed, broken up and reassemble ...
.


Depiction of ordinary subjects

The depiction of ordinary, everyday subjects in art also has a long history, though it was often squeezed into the edges of compositions, or shown at a smaller scale. This was partly because art was expensive, and usually commissioned for specific religious, political or personal reasons, that allowed only a relatively small amount of space or effort to be devoted to such scenes. Drolleries in the margins of medieval
illuminated manuscripts An illuminated manuscript is a formally prepared manuscript, document where the text is often supplemented with flourishes such as marginalia, borders and Miniature (illuminated manuscript), miniature illustrations. Often used in the Roman Catho ...
sometimes contain small scenes of everyday life, and the development of perspective created large background areas in many scenes set outdoors that could be made more interesting by including small figures going about their everyday lives. Medieval and Early Renaissance art by convention usually showed non-sacred figures in contemporary dress, so no adjustment was needed for this even in religious or historical scenes set in ancient times. Early Netherlandish painting brought the painting of portraits as low down the social scale as the prosperous merchants of
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch language, Dutch: ''Vlaanderen'' ) is the Dutch language, Flemish-speaking northern portion of Belgium and one of the communities, regions and language areas of Belgium. However, there are several overlapping definitions, in ...
, and in some of these, notably the ''
Arnolfini Portrait ''The Arnolfini Portrait'' (or ''The Arnolfini Wedding'', ''The Arnolfini Marriage'', the ''Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife'', or other titles) is a 1434 oil painting on oak Panel painting, panel by the Early Netherlandish painting, Ea ...
'' by Jan van Eyck (1434), and more often in religious scenes such as the Merode Altarpiece, by
Robert Campin Robert Campin (c. 1375 – 26 April 1444), now usually identified with the Master of Flémalle (earlier the Master of the Merode Triptych, before the discovery of three other similar panels), was the first great master of Early Netherlandish paint ...
and his workshop (circa 1427), include very detailed depictions of middle-class interiors full of lovingly depicted objects. However these objects are at least largely there because they carry layers of complex significance and symbolism that undercut any commitment to realism for its own sake. Cycles of the Labours of the Months in late medieval art, of which many examples survive from
books of hours The book of hours is a Christian devotional book used to pray the canonical hour In the practice of Christianity, canonical hours mark the divisions of the day in terms of Fixed prayer times#Christianity, fixed times of prayer at regular ...
, concentrate on peasants labouring on different tasks through the seasons, often in a rich landscape background, and were significant both in developing
landscape art Landscape painting, also known as landscape art, is the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, especially where the main subject is a wide view—with its elements arranged into a coherent composi ...
and the depiction of everyday working-class people. In the 16th century there was a fashion for the depiction in large paintings of scenes of people working, especially in food markets and kitchens: in many the food is given as much prominence as the workers. Artists included
Pieter Aertsen Pieter Aertsen (1508 – 2 June 1575), called ''Lange Piet'' ("Tall Pete") because of his height, was a Dutch painter in the style of Northern Mannerism. He is credited with the invention of the monumental genre scene, which combines still life ...
and his nephew
Joachim Beuckelaer Joachim Beuckelaer (c. 1533 – c. 1570/4) was a Flemish painter specialising in market and kitchen scenes with elaborate displays of food and household equipment. He also painted still lifes with no figures in the central scene.
in the Netherlands, working in an essentially Mannerist style, and in Italy the young
Annibale Carracci Annibale Carracci (; November 3, 1560 – July 15, 1609) was an Italian painter and instructor, active in Bologna Bologna (, , ; egl, label= Emilian, Bulåggna ; lat, Bononia) is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna egl, ...
in the 1580s, using a very down to earth unpolished style, with Bartolomeo Passerotti somewhere between the two.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder Pieter Bruegel (also Brueghel or Breughel) the Elder (, ; ; – 9 September 1569) was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, a painter and printmaking, printmaker, known for his landscape art, landscapes and peas ...
pioneered large panoramic scenes of peasant life. Such scenes acted as a prelude for the popularity of scenes of work in
genre painting Genre painting (or petit genre), a form of genre art, depicts aspects of everyday life by portraying ordinary people engaged in common activities. One common definition of a genre scene is that it shows figures to whom no identity can be attached ...
in the 17th century, which appeared all over Europe, with
Dutch Golden Age painting Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history roughly spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) for Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republi ...
sprouting several different subgenres of such scenes, the
Bamboccianti The ''Bamboccianti'' were Genre works, genre painters active in Rome from about 1625 until the end of the seventeenth century. Most were Netherlands, Dutch and Flemings, Flemish artists who brought existing traditions of depicting peasant subject ...
(though mostly from the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas, lb, déi Niddereg Lännereien) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, is a coastal lowland region in N ...
) in Italy, and in Spain the genre of bodegones, and the introduction of unidealized peasants into history paintings by
Jusepe de Ribera Jusepe de Ribera (1591 – 1652) was a painter and Printmaking, printmaker, who along with Francisco de Zurbarán, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, and the singular Diego Velázquez, are regarded as the major artists of Spanish Baroque painting. ...
and Velázquez. The Le Nain brothers in France and many Flemish artists including Adriaen Brouwer and
David Teniers the Elder David Teniers the Elder (158229 July 1649), Flemings, Flemish Painting, painter, was born at Antwerp. Biography Having received his first training in the painter's art from his brother Juliaan Teniers, Juliaen, he studied under Peter Paul Rube ...
and Younger painted peasants, but rarely townsfolk. In the 18th century small paintings of working people working remained popular, mostly drawing on the Dutch tradition, and especially featuring women. Much art depicting ordinary people, especially in the form of prints, was comic and moralistic, but the mere poverty of the subjects seems relatively rarely to have been part of the moral message. From the mid-19th century onwards this changed, and the difficulties of life for the poor were emphasized. Despite this trend coinciding with large-scale migration from the countryside to cities in most of Europe, painters still tended to paint poor rural people, largely leaving illustrators such as
Gustave Doré Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré ( , , ; 6 January 1832 – 23 January 1883) was a French artist, as a printmaker Printmaking is the process of creating work of art, artworks by printing, normally on paper, but also on fabric, wood, m ...
to show the horrors of city slums. Crowded city street scenes were popular with the Impressionists and related painters, especially ones showing Paris. Medieval manuscript illuminators were often asked to illustrate technology, but after the Renaissance such images continued in book illustration and prints, but with the exception of
marine painting Marine art or maritime art is a form of figurative art (that is, painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture) that portrays or draws its main Sea in culture, inspiration from the sea. Maritime painting is a genre that depicts ships and the sea ...
largely disappeared in
fine art In European academic traditions, fine art is developed primarily for aesthetics or creativity, creative expression, distinguishing it from decorative art or applied art, which also has to serve some practical function, such as pottery or most ...
until the early
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going fr ...
, scenes from which were painted by a few painters such as
Joseph Wright of Derby Joseph Wright (3 September 1734 – 29 August 1797), styled Joseph Wright of Derby, was an English landscape and portrait painter. He has been acclaimed as "the first professional painter to express the spirit of the Industrial Revolution". Wr ...
and Philip James de Loutherbourg. Such subjects probably failed to sell very well, and there is a noticeable absence of industry, other than a few
railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transport Transport (in British English), or transportation (in American English), is the intentional Motion, movement of humans, animals, and cargo, goods from one location t ...
scenes, in painting until the later 19th century, when works began to be commissioned, typically by industrialists or for institutions in industrial cities, often on a large scale, and sometimes given a quasi-heroic treatment.
American realism American Realism was a style in art, music and literature that depicted contemporary social realities and the lives and everyday activities of ordinary people. The movement began in literature in the mid-19th century, and became an important te ...
, a movement of the early 20th century, is one of many modern movements to use realism in this sense. File:El almuerzo, by Diego Velázquez.jpg,
Diego Velázquez Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (baptized June 6, 1599August 6, 1660) was a Spanish painter, the leading artist in the Noble court, court of King Philip IV of Spain, Philip IV of Spain and Portugal, and of the Spanish Golden Age. He was ...
, '' The Farmers' Lunch'', c. 1620 File:Brouwer, Adriaen - Interior of a Tavern - Google Art Project.jpg, Adriaen Brouwer, ''Interior of a Tavern'', c. 1630 File:Quiringh van Brekelenkam - Interior of a Tailor's Shop - WGA03175.jpg, Quiringh van Brekelenkam, ''Interior of a Tailor's Shop'', 1653 File:Giacomo Ceruti - Women Working on Pillow Lace (The Sewing School) - WGA4672.jpg, Giacomo Ceruti, ''Women Working on Pillow Lace'', 1720s File:Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin 017.jpg, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, '' Woman Cleaning Turnips'', c. 1738,
Alte Pinakothek The Alte Pinakothek (, ''Old Pinacotheca, Pinakothek'') is an art museum located in the Kunstareal area in Munich, Germany. It is one of the oldest galleries in the world and houses a significant collection of Old Master paintings. The name Alte ...
. File:Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French - The Laundress (La Blanchisseuse) - Google Art Project.jpg,
Jean-Baptiste Greuze Jean-Baptiste Greuze (, 21 August 1725 – 4 March 1805) was a French Painting, painter of portraits, genre art, genre scenes, and history painting. Biography Early life Greuze was born at Tournus, a market town in Burgundy (French region), ...
, '' The Laundress'', 1761 File:Sir Luke Fildes - The widower - Google Art Project.jpg, Sir
Luke Fildes __NOTOC__ Sir Samuel Luke Fildes (3 October 1843 – 28 February 1927) was a British painter and illustrator born in Liverpool and trained at the Royal College of Art, South Kensington and Royal Academy Schools. He was the grandson of the p ...
, ''The Widower'', 1876 File:William Bell Scott - Iron and Coal.jpg,
William Bell Scott William Bell Scott (1811–1890) was a Scottish artist in oils and watercolour and occasionally printmaking. He was also a poet and art teacher, and his posthumously published reminiscences give a chatty and often vivid picture of life in the c ...
''Iron and Coal'', 1855–1860 File:Juan Manuel Blanes Episodio de la Fiebre Amarilla.jpg, Juan Manuel Blanes, ''Yellow Fever Episode''. 1871 File:Albert Edelfelt - The Luxembourg Gardens, Paris.jpg,
Albert Edelfelt Albert Gustaf Aristides Edelfelt (21 July 1854 – 18 August 1905) was a Finnish-Swedish painter noted for his naturalistic style and Realist approach to art. He lived in the Grand Duchy of Finland The Grand Duchy of Finland ( fi, Suomen suuri ...
, ''The Luxembourg Gardens''. 1887


Realist movement

The Realist movement began in the mid-19th century as a reaction to
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic movement or Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate ...
and
History painting History painting is a genre in painting defined by its subject matter rather than any artistic style or specific period. History paintings depict a moment in a narrative story, most often (but not exclusively) Greek and Roman mythology and Bible ...
. In favor of depictions of 'real' life, the Realist painters used common laborers, and ordinary people in ordinary surroundings engaged in real activities as subjects for their works. Its chief exponents were
Gustave Courbet Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet ( , , ; 10 June 1819 – 31 December 1877) was a French painter who led the Realism (art movement), Realism movement in 19th-century French painting. Committed to painting only what he could see, he rejected ac ...
, Jean-François Millet, Honoré Daumier, and
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot ( , , ; July 16, 1796 – February 22, 1875), or simply Camille Corot, is a French Landscape art, landscape and Portraitist, portrait painter as well as a printmaking, printmaker in etching. He is a pivotal fi ...
. According to Ross Finocchio, formerly of the Department of European Paintings at the
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially "the Met", is the List of largest art museums, largest art museum in the Americas. Its permanent collection contains over two million works, divided among 17 curatorial departments. ...
, Realists used unprettified detail depicting the existence of ordinary contemporary life, coinciding with the contemporaneous naturalist literature of Émile Zola, Honoré de Balzac, and
Gustave Flaubert Gustave Flaubert ( , , ; 12 December 1821 – 8 May 1880) was a French novelist. Highly influential, he has been considered the leading exponent of literary realism in his country. According to the literary theorist Kornelije Kvas, "in Flauber ...
. File:Gustave Courbet 018.jpg,
Gustave Courbet Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet ( , , ; 10 June 1819 – 31 December 1877) was a French painter who led the Realism (art movement), Realism movement in 19th-century French painting. Committed to painting only what he could see, he rejected ac ...
, '' The Stone Breakers'', 1849 File:Jean-François Millet - Gleaners - Google Art Project.jpg, Jean-François Millet, '' The Gleaners'', 1857 File:Honoré Daumier 032.jpg, Honoré Daumier, '' The Chess Players'', 1863 File:Young Girl Reading by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot c1868.jpg,
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot ( , , ; July 16, 1796 – February 22, 1875), or simply Camille Corot, is a French Landscape art, landscape and Portraitist, portrait painter as well as a printmaking, printmaker in etching. He is a pivotal fi ...
, ''Young Girl Reading'', 1868 File:Jules Bastien-Lepage - October - Google Art Project.jpg,
Jules Bastien-Lepage Jules Bastien-Lepage (1 November 1848 – 10 December 1884) was a French painter Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface (called the "matrix" or "support"). The medium is commonly app ...
, ''
October October is the tenth month of the year in the Julian calendar, Julian and Gregorian calendars and the sixth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. The eighth month in the old Roman calendar#Legendary 10 month calendar, calendar of Romul ...
'', 1878,
National Gallery of Victoria The National Gallery of Victoria, popularly known as the NGV, is an art museum in Melbourne, Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia. Founded in 1861, it is Australia's oldest and list of most visited art museums in the world, most visited ar ...
File:Aleksander Gierymski, Święto Trąbek I.jpg, Aleksander Gierymski ''Feast of Trumpets'', 1884
The French Realist movement had equivalents in all other Western countries, developing somewhat later. In particular the
Peredvizhniki Peredvizhniki ( rus, Передви́жники, , pʲɪrʲɪˈdvʲiʐnʲɪkʲɪ), often called The Wanderers or The Itinerants in English, were a group of Russian realism (arts), realist artists who formed an artists' cooperative in protest of ...
or ''Wanderers'' group in Russia who formed in the 1860s and organized exhibitions from 1871 included many realists such as
Ilya Repin Ilya Yefimovich Repin (russian: Илья Ефимович Репин, translit=Il'ya Yefimovich Repin, p=ˈrʲepʲɪn); fi, Ilja Jefimovitš Repin ( – 29 September 1930) was a Russian painter, born in what is now Ukraine. He became one of the ...
,
Vasily Perov Vasily Grigorevich Perov (russian: Васи́лий Григо́рьевич Перо́в; 2 January 1834 (21 December 1833 Old Style, O.S.) – 10 June (29 May O.S.) 1882) was a Russian painter, a key figure of the Russian Realism (arts), R ...
, and
Ivan Shishkin Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin (russian: Ива́н Ива́нович Ши́шкин; 25 January 1832 – 20 March 1898) was a Russian landscape painter closely associated with the Peredvizhniki movement. Biography Shishkin was born to a Russian me ...
, and had a great influence on Russian art. In Britain artists such as
Hubert von Herkomer Sir Hubert von Herkomer (born as Hubert Herkomer; 26 May 1849 – 31 March 1914) was a Bavarian-born British painter, pioneering film-director, and composer. Though a very successful portrait artist, especially of men, he is mainly remembered fo ...
and
Luke Fildes __NOTOC__ Sir Samuel Luke Fildes (3 October 1843 – 28 February 1927) was a British painter and illustrator born in Liverpool and trained at the Royal College of Art, South Kensington and Royal Academy Schools. He was the grandson of the p ...
had great success with realist paintings dealing with social issues. File:Wassilij Grigorjewitsch Perow 002.jpg,
Vasily Perov Vasily Grigorevich Perov (russian: Васи́лий Григо́рьевич Перо́в; 2 January 1834 (21 December 1833 Old Style, O.S.) – 10 June (29 May O.S.) 1882) was a Russian painter, a key figure of the Russian Realism (arts), R ...
, ''The Drowned'', 1867 File:Wladimir Jegorowitsch Makowskij 001.jpg, Vladimir Makovsky, ''"Philanthropists"'', 1874 File:Procesión de Pascua en la región de Kursk, por Iliá Repin.jpg,
Ilya Repin Ilya Yefimovich Repin (russian: Илья Ефимович Репин, translit=Il'ya Yefimovich Repin, p=ˈrʲepʲɪn); fi, Ilja Jefimovitš Repin ( – 29 September 1930) was a Russian painter, born in what is now Ukraine. He became one of the ...
, '' Religious Procession in Kursk Province'', 1880–1883 File:Hubert von Herkomer - Hard Times.JPG,
Hubert von Herkomer Sir Hubert von Herkomer (born as Hubert Herkomer; 26 May 1849 – 31 March 1914) was a Bavarian-born British painter, pioneering film-director, and composer. Though a very successful portrait artist, especially of men, he is mainly remembered fo ...
, ''Hard Times'' 1885


Literature

Broadly defined as "the faithful representation of reality", Realism as a literary movement is based on "
objective reality In philosophy, objectivity is the concept of truth independent from individual subjectivity (bias caused by one's perception, emotions, or imagination). A proposition is considered to have objective truth when its truth conditions are met withou ...
." It focuses on showing everyday activities and life, primarily among the middle or lower class society, without romantic idealization or dramatization. According to Kornelije Kvas, "the realistic figuration and re-figuration of reality form logical constructs that are similar to our usual notion of reality, without violating the principle of three types of laws – those of natural sciences, psychological and social ones". It may be regarded as the general attempt to depict subjects as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation and "in accordance with secular,
empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence is of central importance to the sciences and ...
rules." As such, the approach inherently implies a belief that such
reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only Object of the mind, imaginary. The term is also used to refer to the ontological status of things, indicating their existence. In ...
is
ontological In metaphysics, ontology is the philosophy, philosophical study of being, as well as related concepts such as existence, Becoming (philosophy), becoming, and reality. Ontology addresses questions like how entities are grouped into Category ...
ly independent of human kind's conceptual schemes, linguistic practices and beliefs, and thus can be known (or knowable) to the artist, who can in turn represent this 'reality' faithfully. As Ian Watt states, modern realism "begins from the position that truth can be discovered by the individual through the senses" and as such "it has its origins in Descartes and Locke, and received its first full formulation by
Thomas Reid Thomas Reid (; 7 May (Julian calendar, O.S. 26 April) 1710 – 7 October 1796) was a religiously trained Scottish philosopher. He was the founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense and played an integral role in the Scottish Enlightenment ...
in the middle of the eighteenth century." While the preceding
Romantic era Romanticism (also known as the Romantic movement or Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate ...
was also a reaction against the values of the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going fr ...
, realism was in its turn a reaction to Romanticism, and for this reason it is also commonly derogatorily referred as "traditional" "bourgeois realism". Some writers of
Victorian literature Victorian literature refers to English literature during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901). The 19th century is considered by some to be the Golden Age of English Literature, especially for British novels. It was in the Victorian era tha ...
produced works of realism. The rigidities, conventions, and other limitations of "bourgeois realism" prompted in their turn the revolt later labeled as
modernism Modernism is both a philosophy, philosophical and arts movement that arose from broad transformations in Western world, Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement reflected a desire for the creation of new fo ...
; starting around 1900, the driving motive of modernist literature was the criticism of the 19th-century bourgeois social order and world view, which was countered with an antirationalist, antirealist and antibourgeois program.
John Barth John Simmons Barth (; born May 27, 1930) is an American writer who is best known for his postmodern literature, postmodern and metafictional fiction. His most highly regarded and influential works were published in the 1960s, and include The Sot ...
(1979) '' The Literature of Replenishment'', later republished in '' The Friday Book'' (1984).
Gerald Graff (1975) ''Babbitt at the Abyss: The Social Context of Postmodern. American Fiction'', '' TriQuarterly'', No. 33 (Spring 1975), pp. 307–37; reprinted in Putz and Freese, eds., ''Postmodernism and American Literature''. Gerald Graff (1973) ''The Myth of the Postmodernist Breakthrough'', TriQuarterly, 26 (Winter, 1973) 383–417; rept in ''The Novel Today: Contemporary Writers on Modern Fiction Malcolm Bradbury'', ed., (London: Fontana, 1977); reprinted in Proza Nowa Amerykanska, ed., Szice Krytyczne (Warsaw, 1984); reprinted in ''Postmodernism in American Literature: A Critical Anthology'', Manfred Putz and Peter Freese, eds., (Darmstadt: Thesen Verlag, 1984), 58–81.


Theatre

Theatrical realism is said to have first emerged in European drama in the 19th century as an offshoot of the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going fr ...
and the age of science. Some also specifically cited the invention of photography as the basis of the realist theater while others view that the association between realism and drama is far older as demonstrated by the principles of dramatic forms such as the presentation of the physical world that closely matches reality. The achievement of realism in the
theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The p ...
was to direct attention to the social and psychological problems of ordinary life. In its dramas, people emerge as victims of forces larger than themselves, as individuals confronted with a rapidly accelerating world. These pioneering playwrights were unafraid to present their characters as ordinary, impotent, and unable to arrive at answers to their predicaments. This type of art represents what we see with our human eyes.
Anton Chekov Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (; 29 January 1860Adoption of the Gregorian calendar#Adoption in Eastern Europe, Old Style date 17 January. – 15 July 1904Adoption of the Gregorian calendar#Adoption in Eastern Europe, Old Style date 2 July.) ...
, for instance, used camera works to reproduce an uninflected
slice of life Slice of life is a depiction of mundane experiences in art and entertainment. In theater, slice of life refers to Naturalism (theatre), naturalism, while in literary parlance it is a narrative technique in which a seemingly arbitrary sequence of ...
, exposing the rhetorical and suasive character of realistic theatricality. Scholars such as Thomas Postlewait noted that throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there were numerous joinings of
melodrama A modern melodrama is a dramatic work in which the plot, typically sensationalized and for a strong emotional appeal, takes precedence over detailed characterization. Melodramas typically concentrate on dialogue that is often bombastic or exces ...
tic and realistic forms and functions, which could be demonstrated in the way melodramatic elements existed in realistic forms and vice versa. In the United States, realism in drama preceded fictional realism by about two decades as theater historians identified the first impetus toward realism during the late 1870s and early 1880s. Its development is also attributed to
William Dean Howells William Dean Howells (; March 1, 1837 – May 11, 1920) was an American realist novelist, literary critic, and playwright A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play (theatre), plays. Etymology The word "play" is from Middle Engli ...
and
Henry James Henry James ( – ) was an American-British author. He is regarded as a key transitional figure between literary realism and literary modernism, and is considered by many to be among the greatest novelists in the English language. He was the ...
who served as the spokesmen for realism as well as articulator of its aesthetic principles. The realistic approach to theater collapsed into
nihilism Nihilism (; ) is a philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as prob ...
and the absurd after World War II.


Cinema

Italian Neorealism Italian neorealism (art), neorealism ( it, Neorealismo), also known as the Golden Age, is a national film movement characterized by stories set amongst the poor and the working class. They are filmed Location shooting, on location, frequently wit ...
was a cinematic movement incorporating elements of realism that developed in post-WWII Italy. Notable Neorealists included
Vittorio De Sica Vittorio De Sica ( , ; 7 July 1901 – 13 November 1974) was an Italian film director and actor, a leading figure in the Italian neorealism, neorealist movement. Four of the films he directed won Academy Awards: ''Shoeshine (film), Sciuscià ...
,
Luchino Visconti Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo (; 2 November 1906 – 17 March 1976) was an Italian filmmaker, stage director, and screenwriter A screenplay writer (also called screenwriter, scriptwriter, scribe or scenarist) is ...
, and
Roberto Rossellini Roberto Gastone Zeffiro Rossellini (8 May 1906 – 3 June 1977) was an Italian film director, producer, and screenwriter. He was one of the most prominent directors of the Italian neorealist cinema, contributing to the movement with films such ...
. Realist films generally focus on social issues.Hayward, Susan. "Realism" in ''Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts'' (Third Edition). Routledge, 2006. pp. 334–35 There are two types of realism in film: seamless realism and aesthetic realism. Seamless realism tries to use narrative structures and film techniques to create a "reality effect" to maintain its authenticity. Aesthetic realism, which was first called for by French filmmakers in the 1930s and promoted by Andre Bazin in the 1950s, acknowledges that a "film cannot be fixed to mean what it shows", as there are multiple realisms; as such, these filmmakers use location shooting, natural light and non-professional actors to ensure the viewer can make up her/his own choice based on the film, rather than being manipulated into a "preferred reading". Siegfried Kracauer is also notable for arguing that realism is the most important function of cinema. Aestheticly realist filmmakers use
long shot In photography Photography is the visual art, art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as pho ...
s, deep focus and eye-level 90 degree shots to reduce manipulation of what the viewer sees. Italian neorealism filmmakers from after WWII took the existing realist film approaches from France and Italy that emerged in the 1960s and used them to create a politically oriented cinema. French filmmakers made some politically oriented realist films in the 1960s, such as the cinéma vérité and documentary films of
Jean Rouch Jean Rouch (; 31 May 1917 – 18 February 2004) was a French filmmaker Filmmaking (film production) is the process by which a Film, motion picture is #Production, produced. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages, sta ...
while in the 1950s and 1960s, British, French and German new waves of filmmaking produced "slice-of-life" films (e.g.,
kitchen sink drama Kitchen sink realism (or kitchen sink drama) is a British cultural movement that developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s in theatre, art, novels, film and television plays, whose protagonists usually could be described as " angry young men" ...
s in the UK).


Opera

Verismo was a post-Romantic operatic tradition associated with Italian composers such as
Pietro Mascagni Pietro Mascagni (7 December 1863 – 2 August 1945) was an Italian composer primarily known for his operas. His 1890 masterpiece ''Cavalleria rusticana'' caused one of the greatest sensations in opera history and single-handedly ushered in the ' ...
,
Ruggero Leoncavallo Ruggero (or Ruggiero) Leoncavallo ( , , ; 23 April 18579 August 1919) was an Italian opera composer and librettist. Although he produced numerous operas and other songs throughout his career it is his opera ''Pagliacci'' (1892) that remained his ...
,
Umberto Giordano Umberto Menotti Maria Giordano (28 August 186712 November 1948) was an Italian composer, mainly of opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually ac ...
, Francesco Cilea and
Giacomo Puccini Giacomo Puccini (Lucca, 22 December 1858Brussels, Bruxelles, 29 November 1924) was an Italian composer known primarily for List of compositions by Giacomo Puccini#Operas, his operas. Regarded as the greatest and most successful proponent of It ...
. They sought to bring the naturalism of influential late 19th-century writers such as Émile Zola,
Gustave Flaubert Gustave Flaubert ( , , ; 12 December 1821 – 8 May 1880) was a French novelist. Highly influential, he has been considered the leading exponent of literary realism in his country. According to the literary theorist Kornelije Kvas, "in Flauber ...
, and
Henrik Ibsen Henrik Johan Ibsen (; ; 20 March 1828 – 23 May 1906) was a Norwegian playwright and theatre director. As one of the founders of modernism in theatre, Ibsen is often referred to as "the father of theatrical realism, realism" and one of the mo ...
into opera. This new style presented true-to-life drama that featured gritty and flawed lower-class protagonists while some described it as a heightened portrayal of a realistic event. Although an account considered
Giuseppe Verdi Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (; 9 or 10 October 1813 – 27 January 1901) was an Italian composer best known for his operas. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, receiving a musical education with the h ...
's ''
Luisa Miller ''Luisa Miller'' is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the Play (theatre), play ''Kabale und Liebe'' (''Intrigue and Love'') by the German dramatist Friedrich von Schiller. Verdi's i ...
'' and ''
La Traviata ''La traviata'' (; ''The Fallen Woman'') is an opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience ...
'' as the first stirrings of the verismo, some claimed that it began in 1890 with the first performance of Mascagni's ''
Cavalleria rusticana ''Cavalleria rusticana'' (; Italian for "rustic chivalry") is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni to an Italian libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, adapted from an 1880 Cavalleria rusticana (short story), short story of ...
'', peaked in the early 1900s."Verismo" in Stanley Sadie (ed.) ''The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians'', London: Macmillan/New York: Grove, 1980, vol. 19 p. 670, It was followed by Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, which dealt with the themes of infidelity, revenge, and violence. Verismo also reached Britain where pioneers included the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the
dramatist A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play (theatre), plays. Etymology The word "play" is from Middle English pleye, from Old English plæġ, pleġa, plæġa ("play, exercise; sport, game; drama, applause"). The word wikt:w"wright" i ...
W. S. Gilbert and the composer
Arthur Sullivan Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan (13 May 1842 – 22 November 1900) was an English composer. He is best known for 14 comic opera, operatic Gilbert and Sullivan, collaborations with the dramatist W. S. Gilbert, including ''H.M.S. Pinaf ...
(1842–1900). Specifically, their play ''
Iolanthe ''Iolanthe; or, The Peer and the Peri'' () is a comic opera with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert, first performed in 1882. It is one of the Savoy operas and is the seventh of fourteen operatic collaborations by Gilbert ...
'' is considered a realistic representation of the nobility although it included fantastical elements.


See also

*
Aesthetic Realism Aesthetic Realism is a philosophy founded in 1941 by the American poet and critic Eli Siegel (1902–1978). He defined it as a three-part study: " ese three divisions can be described as: One, Liking the world; Two, The opposites; Three, The ...
*
American realism American Realism was a style in art, music and literature that depicted contemporary social realities and the lives and everyday activities of ordinary people. The movement began in literature in the mid-19th century, and became an important te ...
*
Ashcan School The Ashcan School, also called the Ash Can School, was an art movement, artistic movement in the United States during the late 19th-early 20th century that produced works portraying scenes of daily life in New York City, New York, often in the ci ...
* Aspectism * Capitalist realism * Contemporary realism * '' Chanson réaliste'' (realist song), a style of music performed in France primarily from the 1880s until the end of World War II *
Humanist Photography Humanist Photography, also known as the School of Humanist Photography,Chalifour, Bruno, 'Jean Dieuzaide, 1935-2003' in ''Afterimage'' Vol. 31, No. 4, January–February 2004 manifests the Enlightenment philosophical system in social documentary pr ...
* Hyperrealism (visual arts) * Magic realism * Nouveau réalisme *
Photorealism Photorealism is a genre of art that encompasses painting, drawing and other graphic media, in which an artist studies a photograph and then attempts to reproduce the image as realistically as possible in another Medium (arts), medium. Although ...
*
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (later known as the Pre-Raphaelites) was a group of English painters, poets, and art critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, James ...
* Pseudorealism * Romantic realism *
Social realism Social realism is the term used for work produced by painters, printmakers, photographers, writers and filmmakers that aims to draw attention to the real socio-political conditions of the working class as a means to critique the power structure ...
*
Street Photography Street photography (also sometimes called candid photography) is photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within Public space, public places. Although there is a difference between s ...
* Verism


Notes


References

* Blunt Anthony, ''Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450–1600'', 1940 (refs to 1985 edn), OUP, * * Needham, Gerald, "Naturalism."
Grove Art Online ''Grove Art Online'' is the online edition of ''The Dictionary of Art'', often referred to as the ''Grove Dictionary of Art'', and part of Oxford Art Online, an internet gateway to online art reference publications of Oxford University Press, ...
. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press, accessed February 23, 2013
subscriber link
* Raben, Hans, "Bellori's Art: The Taste and Distaste of a Seventeenth-Century Art Critic in Rome", ''Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art'', Vol. 32, No. 2/3 (2006), pp. 126–46, Stichting voor Nederlandse Kunsthistorische Publicaties
JSTOR
* *


Further reading

* Buchanan, William (1982), ''The Realist Tradition'', in '' Cencrastus'' No. 8, Spring 1982, pp. 17–20, * (pbk). * *


External links


Article on American literary realism
at the Literary Movements site
Art term: Realism
at tate.org.uk {{DEFAULTSORT:Realism (Arts) 01 Art movements Art history Visual arts theory