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Realism

The Power of the Real

Caravaggio (Basic Art Series)

Caravaggio

US$ 16
Kahlo (Basic Art Series)

Kahlo

US$ 16
O'Keeffe (Basic Art Series)

O'Keeffe

US$ 16
Richter (Basic Art Series)

Richter

US$ 16
Rivera (Basic Art Series)

Rivera

US$ 16
Van Eyck (Basic Art Series)

Van Eyck

US$ 16
Vermeer. The Complete Works

Vermeer.
The Complete Works

US$ 70
Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat

US$ 200

From the Archives

Events

Realism

Art imitates life in the work of the realists. Through painting, photography, and sculpture, 19th and 20th century artists working with Realism invoke reality in works that capture what Freud called “the uncanny”—the inexplicable strangeness of something which seems at once real and not real. While realism of different sorts has been prevalent throughout history, The Realism art movement in painting began in France in the 1850s, following the 1848 Revolution and was led in many ways by the artist Gustave Courbet. Realists like Courbet rejected the Romanticism of the recent past, as well as the religious and symbolic grandiosity of the Renaissance and strove to move away from exaggerated emotion and drama and to resist idealization. The realist painters desired to depict the everyday - in all its beauty and horror. In this they did not shy away from the mundane, sordid, or even the outright unpleasant. Realists often depicted the working class as serious subject matter and recorded the emergence of an urban culture experiencing the vast changes to social life wrought by the industrial revolution.

TASCHEN Books holds titles on a number of artists whose work wrestles with the concerns of Realism. Manet, Courbet, Velázquez, Vermeer, and Caravaggio all strove to illustrate the nature of life, devoid of trimmings and frills. Manet’s paintings of cosmopolitan Parisian life, Vermeer’s images of middle-class Dutch women, or the peasants and workers that Courbet caught on canvas all depict ‘the real’ in staggeringly different surroundings. As the 20th Century progressed the invention of photography dramatically altered concepts of Realism. TASCHEN publications Modern Art 1870–2000. Impressionism to Today and Art of the 20th Century both contextualize the development of representation and provide an overview of how artists have approached Realism throughout the course of Art History. Realism stands as a watershed moment between the art of the old world and the new and the artwork associated with the movement can be considered the genesis of Modern Art as we know it.