One of the most popular styles today, Realism is an art movement known for its effort to accurately capture subject matter without idealization or stylization. While many other styles of art rely on broad themes and overarching guidelines for artists, Realism is instead a style that asks artists only to capture a subject matter honestly and without bias. Since graduating from CCA in 2015, Lorelei Linklater has explored Realism within her paintings, which have been featured in a variety of solo and group shows throughout the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Teas. Lorelei Linklater believes the style, developed during the mid 19th century, remains prevalent today and hopes to teach others about the importance of the realism movement. Today, Lorelei Linklater will discuss the realism art movement and its significance within the arts.
Following the 1848 Revolution in France, the French people were disenfranchised with Romanticism, which had long dominated French culture since the 18th century. The Romanticism movement, which began in the early 1770s, was defined as an artistic inspired by nature and portrayed landscapes and portraits in an ideal light. Instead, realist artists hoped to portray the living world for what it was, including unpleasant truths and major issues within society. Realist work during the early years of the movement highlighted ordinary working-class people and often showcased the modern changes taking place, specifically the Industrial and Commercial Revolutions.
The Realist artistic movement is often credited to a few select artists, including Honore Daumier, Gustav Courbet, and Jean-Francois Millet. These Realists showcased everyday subjects and imagery in their work and depicted people of different social classes in a similar manner. Social Realism was a major aspect of the movement and strove to show the similarities between the working class and wealthy elite by depicting the poor with as much seriousness as romanticism artists had depicted the rich. Additionally, Realism aimed to avoid portraying subjects in a heroic or sentimental manner and move away from the ideal human often featured in Renaissance artists’ depictions of Mythology and more towards the depictions of the ordinary. For this reason, figure drawings and figure paintings during this time did not show idealized body types but ordinary people.
One of the most famous pieces of realist art remains Christina’s World, painted by American artist Andrew Wyeth. Christina’s world depicts Andrew Wyeth’s neighbor Anna Christina Olson who was diagnosed with a degenerative musical disorder. Andrew Wyeth was inspired to paint her after witnessing her crawling through a field from his bedroom window. The piece is an excellent example of Realism for both its subject matter and general composition.