Menu Search
Movements
Artists
About Us
Blog
Movements, Styles, and Tendencies Realism

Realism

Realism Collage

Started: 1840s

Ended: 1880s

"It is not a question, here, of searching for an 'absolute' of beauty. The artist is neither painting history nor his soul... And it is because of this that he should neither be judged as a moralist nor as a literary man. He should be judged simply as a painter."

Émile Zola Signature

Synopsis

Though never a coherent group, Realism is recognized as the first modern movement in art, which rejected traditional forms of art, literature, and social organization as outmoded in the wake of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Beginning in France in the 1840s, Realism revolutionized painting, expanding conceptions of what constituted art. Working in a chaotic era marked by revolution and widespread social change, Realist painters replaced the idealistic images and literary conceits of traditional art with real-life events, giving the margins of society similar weight to grand history paintings and allegories. Their choice to bring everyday life into their canvases was an early manifestation of the avant-garde desire to merge art and life, and their rejection of painterly techniques, like perspective, prefigured the many twentieth-century definitions and redefinitions of modernism.

Key Ideas

Most Important Art

History and Concepts

Key Artists

Quotes