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Movements, Styles, and Tendencies Naturalism

Naturalism

Naturalism Collage

Started: 1820s

Ended: 1880s

"You must interpret Nature with entire simplicity and according to your personal sentiment, altogether detaching yourself from what you know of the old masters or of contemporaries. Only in this way will you do work of real feeling."

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Signature

Synopsis

"Naturalism" is a term with a vexed and complex history in art criticism. It has been used since the 17th century to refer to any artwork which attempts to render the reality of its subject-matter without concern for the constraints of convention, or for notions of the 'beautiful'. But since the late 19th century, it has also been used to refer to a movement within painting - initially seen to be based in France, but whose origins and legacies were latterly found to extend all over the world - which attempted to depict the human subject in its formative relationships with natural habitats and social milieus, with a visual accuracy approaching that of photography. Informed by elements of Romanticism and Realism, Naturalism was at one time the dominant trend in Western art, only retrospectively eclipsed by the attention paid to its contemporary movement, Impressionism.

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