Realism in literature and visual arts refers to the attempt of classifying subjects according to empirical and secular rules, as they are considered to exist only in a third person’s objective reality, without interpretation and embellishment. The approach believes in the principle that reality is independent of an individual’s conceptual schemes, beliefs and linguistic practices, and thus may be known to the artist who can represent this form of ‘reality’ faithfully.
Realism more specifically refers to the art movement which originated in France in the early 1850s. The advocates of such movement considered themselves people who are against romanticism, a dominating French artwork and literature in the early 19th century. Realism deals with the principle of objective reality and fought against the emotionalism of the romanticism. Accuracy and truth were the primary goals of the so called Realists. A lot of oil paintings and canvas art which emerged at this time showcased people who were at work, as it were also the peak of Industrial Revolution at that time. The popularity of realistic artworks also gave way to the rise of photography- a brand new visual source that created a desire within the people to create representations that looked real.
What Defines Realism Art
Realism art is described as an artistic endeavor that aims to imitate nature using a paintbrush. This is the desire for those who belonged to this art revolution and believed that romanticism, subjectivism and classicism portrayed the many fallacies of nature.
Realism focuses more on the accurate and truthful depiction of the subjects which nature and life offer to the artists. The artificiality of the previous Romanticism and Classicism was rejected and the necessity to come up with a contemporary art style was introduced. The new idea revolved around everyday activities and ordinary people who are worthy subjects of the Realist artists. The advocates of the Realist art movement attempted to portray the ordinary lives, problems, appearances, customs and mores of the bourgeois & lower classes, the ordinary, unexceptional, unadorned and humble. They have set themselves conscientiously to create all the ignored elements of contemporary life and the society- material conditions, physical settings, and mental attitudes.
Famous Realist Art Paintings of All Time
As every art period is best expressed in the masterpieces crafted by the artists, realism is the manifestation of concepts and principles held by the people who remained true to their ideology. In the broadest sense, the principle of realism can be seen as the pursuit of truthfulness through art to the life conditions and hardships of the ordinary citizens and the lower class citizens of the society. These hardships are considered as the imbalances found in the society that needs to be corrected with the help of scientific application. Here are some of the famous canvas art and oil painting masterpieces of the realism movement.
Horse Ploughing at the Nivernais. This painting is the product of the artistic hands and mind of French artist, Maria Rosa Bonheur. It was also her first achievement after the French government commission. Bonheur is popular for her tendencies to dress up with male clothing as it gave her greater movements when working with animals. She was also considered as one of history’s earliest feminists.
Three Women in Church. The Three Women in Church painting was one of the masterpieces of Wilhelm Liebl, a German born artist. Leibl studied art under the supervision of many artists at the Munich Academy. When he saw and witnessed the art display of a Gustav Courbet, a French realist painter, he immediately went to Paris to study arts. During his return, he moved to a country side where he could develop and focus his artworks on the peasant life and rural sceneries. His work was truly void of any personal impression, a trait that is characteristic of the realist movement.
L’Orgine du Monde. Translated as The Origin of the World in English, L’Orgine du Monde is a canvas art painting crafted by Gustav Courbet. It features a realistic close up view of the gential organ and abdomen of a naked young woman who is lying on the bed and with legs spread. The overall framing of the nude body emphasizes the work’s eroticism.