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The rise of Realism occurred during the 19th century. An unprecedented focus on the everyday subject matter characterized this new art style. It marked a significant shift in how art was viewed and acted upon in the Western world. To understand its significance, we will look at its early pioneers’ contributions.

The Realist movement was launched following the 1848 Revolution, which gave people the right to work. It sought to redefine what was considered to be an artistic genre known as Romanticism. Instead of focusing on the idealized, emotive experiences of the past, artists in this movement sought to capture the everyday reality of people. Romantic paintings often feature either sublime scenes of nature or mythological figures. Realist artists dismissed this trait.

Realism Defined

Many confuse the term Realism with other types of art, such as realistic-looking paintings. This art is the exact representation of a real-life scene or figure. It doesn’t use any added emotion or embellishments.

Through their works, artists sought to capture the everyday reality of people. They were able to do so by showing the world to people who may have been unaware of people’s daily struggles and hardships. The term “gloomy” is often used to describe Realism, but this is not the case. It is a representation of the extreme events that happen in the world.

Realism Characteristics

The goal of Realism is to capture the essence of the world around us. This type of art uses realistic images of people and nature to portray the world in a way that is accurate and relatable. It can be used in various forms, such as still life, landscape painting, and portraiture.

Realism aims to capture an object’s details to provide a clear and accurate representation of its appearance. This process is carried out through the use of flat colors and shading.

Instead of using various decorative elements, such as flowers or frills, artists in Realism typically utilize simple props and backgrounds. This style of art doesn’t utilize saturated colors. Instead, it uses light colors to highlight objects like hands or faces. Most of the time, artists utilize oil paints.

Realism Artists

Many people consider Gustave Courbet to be the leading figure of the Realist movement. During the 1840s, he started portraying laborers and peasants on a grand scale, typically reserved for historical, religious, or allegorical subjects. Before he became a leading figure in the movement, artists didn’t depict scenes as they were; instead, they completely erased any flaws or inconsistencies.

Like other Realist artists, Jean-Franois Millet also featured working-class individuals in his works. He lived in rural France and often returned to the area’s farmers as his subjects. According to Millet, the human side is what he most enjoys about art, and the peasants were his ideal subject. He is also known for his work as a founding member of the Barbizon School, which challenged the dominance of Romanticism.