In the context of art history, nineteenth-century French Realist painters embraced every day observations of contemporary life, in many ways democratising art by turning from the academic ideals of classical art and the heightened emotional drama of eighteenth-century Romanticism. In this way, Realist painters sought to represent the real as opposed to the imagined, offering instead a truthful and realistic account of daily life. Until the 1880s and prior to the rise of Impressionism, Realism often carried a political sentiment in representing the lives of the working class following the Revolution of 1848. Similarly, Contemporary Realist painters from the mid-1960s rejected the intense energy of Abstract Expressionism to represent their own astute observations of the world. The artists featured here have also drawn on the techniques of Realism in offering individual, detailed views of their own worlds to us.
The Great Realists
About this Curation
About the Curator
Melanie is a visual artist and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide where she recently graduated with a phD in Art History. She writes academic articles for publication and reviews for online journals including Verso-MMXVI, Fine Print and Cerae: Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Serving on a number of academic and editorial committees, Melanie is an active member of the arts community.