Realism in Art

realism (in art)

realism, in art, the movement of the mid-19th cent. formed in reaction against the severely academic production of the French school. Realist painters sought to portray what they saw without idealizing it, choosing their subjects from the commonplaces of everyday life. Major realists included Gustave Courbet, J. F. Millet, and Honoré Daumier. In a broader sense the term is applied to an unembellished rendering of natural forms. In recent years realism has come to mean the presentation of forms and materials that are simply themselves, not primarily representations of things that already exist.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Realism in Art: Selected full-text books and articles

Art in an Age of Civil Struggle, 1848-1871
Albert Boime.
University of Chicago Press, 2007
Librarian’s tip: Especially Chap. 2 "Radical Realism and Its Offspring," Chap. 3 "Radical Realism Continued," and Chap. 8 "The Second Empire's Official Realism"
American Painting of the Nineteenth Century: Realism, Idealism, and the American Experience
Barbara Novak.
Oxford University Press, 2007 (3rd edition)
Art under Stalin
Matthew Cullerne Bown.
Holmes & Meier, 1991
Librarian’s tip: This book is about socialist realism in the Soviet Union
An Outline of 19th Century European Painting: From David through Cézanne
Lorenz Eitner.
Westview Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Realism"
Painting and Sculpture in Europe, 1780 to 1880
Fritz Novotny.
Penguin Books, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "Realism in France" and Chap. 14 "Under the Sign of Realism"
Art, Artists and Society: Origins of a Modern Dilemma ; Painting in England and France, 1750-1850
Geraldine Pelles.
Prentice-Hall, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Realism is discussed in Chap. 4 "The Language of the Feelings"
Turn-of-the-Century American Impressionism and Realism
USA TODAY, Vol. 123, No. 2590, July 1994
On the Realism of Aboriginal Art
Jorgensen, Darren.
Journal of Australian Studies, No. 90, January 2007
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