Realism Artists Index

Realism Artists Index

Alphabetical Index of the Great Masters of Realism

Realism is commonly defined as a concern for fact or reality and rejection of the impractical and visionary. However, the term realism is used, with varying meanings, in several of the liberal arts; particularly painting, literature, and philosophy. It is also used in international relations.

Realism in visual arts and literature
In the visual arts and literature, realism is a mid-19th century movement, which started in France. In response to growing positivism after the French Revolution and greater optimism that humans could understand the world through science, philosophy and the arts, the realists sought to render everyday characters, situations, dilemmas, and events in an "accurate" (or realistic) manner. This is in contrast with the earlier romanticism, in which subjects were treated idealistically. Realists tended to discard theatrical drama and classical forms of art to depict commonplace or 'realistic' themes.

The painter Gustave Courbet, rejecting both neoclassicism and romanticism, proclaimed a one-man movement called realism. He had no interest in history painting, portraiture of heads of state, or exotic subject matter, for he believed that the artist should be realistic and paint everyday events involving ordinary people. The milieu chosen by Courbet for many of his canvases was Ornan, his native village in eastern France; there he portrayed laborers building a road, townspeople attending a funeral, or men sitting around the dinner table listening to music and smoking. Although there was no formal realist movement in art, trends in the work of certain other 19th-century painters can be identified as realistic. Honore Daumier, although better known for his lithographs, painted small realistic canvases of Paris street life and Jean Millet, of the Barbizon school, is sometimes termed a social realist.

Barbizon school
The Barbizon school (circa 1830-1870) of painters is named after the village of Barbizon near Fontainebleau Forest, France, where the artists gathered.

The Barbizon painters were part of a movement towards realism in art which arose in the context of the dominant Romantic Movement of the time.

In 1824 the Salon de Paris exhibited works of John Constable. His rural scenes influenced some of the younger artists of the time, moving them to abandon formalism and to draw inspiration directly from nature. Natural scenes became the subjects of their paintings rather than mere backdrops to dramatic events.

During the Revolutions of 1848 artists gathered at Barbizon to follow Constable's ideas, making nature the subject of their paintings.

One of them, Jean-Francois Millet, extended the idea from landscape to figures - peasant figures, scenes of peasant life, and work in the fields. In The Gleaners (1857), Millet portrays three peasant women working at the harvest. There is no drama and no story told, merely three peasant women in a field.

The leaders of the Barbizon school were Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Theodore Rousseau, Jean-Francois Millet and Charles-Francois Daubigny; other members included Jules Dupre, Henri Harpignies, Albert Charpin, Felix Ziem and Alexandre DeFaux.

Peredvizhniki, often called The Wanderers or The Itinerants in English, were a group of Russian realist artists who in protest at academic restrictions formed an artists' cooperative which evolved into the Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions in 1870.

The society formed in 1870 in St. Petersburg under Ivan Kramskoi, Grigoriy Myasoyedov, Nikolai Ge and Vasily Perov's initiative during a struggle of the avant-garde art forces of the country for democratic ideals, and in a counterbalance to the official center of art - the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts. The society developed the best traditions of the Artel of Artists headed by Kramskoi, who became the leader of the new association.

Peredvizhniki were influenced by the public and aesthetic views of Vissarion Belinsky and Nikolai Chernyshevsky.

From 1871 to 1923 the society arranged 48 mobile exhibitions in St.Petersburg and Moscow, after which they were shown in Kiev, Kharkov, Kazan, Orel, Riga, Odessa and other cities.

As realist artists they showed the many-sided characters of social life, often with critical tendency. Their art showed not only poverty but also the beauty of folk way of life; not only suffering but also fortitude, strength of characters. In the humanistic art of Peredvizhniki there was resolute condemnation of the Russian autocratic orders; the emancipation movement of Russian people was shown with empathy (The Arrest of Propagandist; Refuse from Confession; Not Expected by Ilya Yefimovich Repin). The most important meaning in their art was social-urban life, and later in historic art depicting the people (The Morning of the Execution of Streltsy by Vasily Surikov).

The Peredvizhniki's society, during their blossoming (1870-1890), developed an increasingly wider scope, and increasing naturalness and freedom of the images. In contrast to the traditional dark palette of the time, they chose a freer, wider manner with a lighter palette in depicting light. They aimed for naturalness in their images, and depiction of peoples relationship with their surroundings.

The innovative, originally folk art of Peredvizhniki, served as effective means of democratic, public, moral and aesthetic education of many generations and became an important factor of development of Russian emancipation movement by helping grow the revolutionary consciousness of the society. V.I. Lenin, and advanced the people of Russian revolutionary movement.

The society united almost all most talented art forces of the country. Among Peredvizhniki there were artists of Ukraine, Latvia, and Armenia. The society also showed the work of Mark Antokolski, Vasili Vereshchagin, and Andrei Ryabushkin. Important in the development of Peredvizhniki's art was critic and democrat Vladimir Stasov, and Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov who showed them in his gallery and rendered them important material and moral support.

The authority and public influence of the society steadily grew, and the autocracy had to stop the initial tactics of clip (sic) and hunting of Peredvizhniki. Attempts were made to subordinate their activity, and raise the falling value of Academy of Arts sanctioned works.

By the 1890s in Academy of Arts structure was including Peredvizhniki art, and showing their influence in national art schools.

At the turn of the 20th century Peredvizhniki began to lose their depth as a reflection of a life. The influence of the society waned, and some of the artists began showing socialist ideas reflecting the development of working class movement. Many of the Peredvizhniki entered in the Soviet art culture, carried the realistic traditions of 19th century and helped form the art of Socialist realism.

In 1898, their influence was superseded by Mir iskusstva, which advanced modern trends in Russian art.

The 48th exhibition of Peredvizhniki in 1923 was the last one. Most members joined the Association of Artists in Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR), whose members leaned on the traditions of Peredvizhniki and aspired to create of art understandable by people and faithfully reflecting the Soviet validity.

Bingham, George Caleb (1811-1879)

Bogdanov-Belsky, Nikolay (1868-1945)

Boldini, Giovanni (1842-1931)

Bonheur, Rosa (1822-1899)

Breton, Jules (1827-1906)

Bridgman, Frederick Arthur (1847-1928)

Brown, John George (1831-1913)

Catti, Michele (1855-1914)

Corot, Jean-Baptiste-Camille (1796-1875)

Courbet, Gustave (1819-1877)

Daubigny, Charles-Francois (1817-1878)

Daumier, Honore (1808-1879)

Dehodencq, Alfred (1822-1882)

del Campo, Federico (1837-1927)

Dupre, Julien (1851-1910)

Eakins, Thomas (1844-1916)

Fantin-Latour, Henri (1836-1904)

Furse, Charles Wellington (1868-1904)

Guigou, Paul-Camille (1834-1871)

Holsoe, Carl Vilhelm (1863-1935)

Homer, Winslow (1836-1910)

Israels, Jozef (1824-1911)

Johnson, Eastman (1824-1906)

Jones, Hugh Bolton (1848-1927)

Kramskoy, Ivan (1837-1887)

Kroyer, Peder Severin (1851-1909)

Lavery, Sir John (1856-1941)

Leader, Benjamin Williams (1831-1923)

Leto, Antonino (1844-1913)

Levitan, Isaac Ilyich (1860-1900)

Lhermitte, Leon-Augustin (1844-1925)

Manet, Edouard (1832-1883)

Matejko, Jan (1838-1893)

Mauve, Anton (1838-1888)

Menzel, Adolph von (1815-1905)

Millet, Jean-Francois (1814-1875)

Monsted, Peder (1859-1941)

Morrison, Robert Edward (1852-1925)

Polenov, Vasiliy (1844-1927)

Pymonenko, Mykola (1862-1912)

Remington, Frederic (1861-1909)

Repin, Ilya (1844-1930)

Rico y Ortega, Martin (1833-1908)

Roll, Alfred Philippe (1846-1919)

Rousseau, Theodore (1812-1867)

Russell, Charles Marion (1864-1926)

Sanchez-Perrier, Emilio (1855-1907)

Santoro, Rubens (1859-1942)

Savrasov, Alexey Kondratyevich (1830-1897)

Serov, Valentin Aleksandrovich (1865-1911)

Shishkin, Ivan Ivanovich (1832-1898)

Tanner, Henry Ossawa (1859-1937)

Trouillebert, Paul Desire (1829-1900)

Tuke, Henry Scott (1858-1929)

Unterberger, Franz Richard (1838-1902)

Vasilyev, Feodor (1850-1873)

Weissenbruch, Johan Hendrik (1824-1903)

Zorn, Anders (1860-1920)