Realism

In Europe

Realism developed as a reaction to Romanticism. Its development is tightly connected with the work of a French painter Gustave Courbet (1819—1877). In France Realism appeared much earlier than in other European countries — toward the end of the Romantic era. The term Realism in its narrow meaning used to be mentioned in French magazines in 1820s, but the first person to give a scientific explanation of Realism as a new art movement was a French art critic Champfleury. A pivotal role in the development of Realism art movement played the wave of revolutions that took place in Europe in the 19th century. Then the clerisy, which at that time embraced the Romantic ideals, experienced the wreck of their ideals and hopes. The social role of art was also enhanced as it started to be used as means of propaganda and agitation. Gustave Courbet became the first painter to work with Realism aesthetics consciously. He submitted his work The Artist's Studio for exhibition at the Exposition Universelle in 1855. But it was rejected and thus the artist decided to display his works in his own gallery called Realism, G. Courbet. He arranged this exhibition in a temporary erected pavilion, thus the exhibition became widely known as The Pavilion of Realism.

In comparison with romanticists, who had lofty, quite vague and not clearly defined ideals, realists had rather a clear-cut ¬¬aim of appealing to daily life. They aimed not just at blind reproduction of the real world, but they tried to gain insight into its fundamental processes, its essence. A new character appeared in the art – a man of the people, a man of labor. A new character’s way of life became the main subject matter in Realism art. The Barbizon school of painters became a landmark of the Realist era. The members of the Barbizon school included Théodore Rousseau, Jules Dupré, Díaz de la Peña and many others. The Barbizon painters became pioneers of the genre of the Realist landscape. They they painted from nature by practicing преимущественно на plein air painting in order to portray the nature without idealization, but the way it is and to reveal its hidden essence and spirituality.

In Russia

Russian Realist movement of the second half of the 19th century is inextricably linked with the development of democratic ideas. It was manifested in a close study of models, deep sympathy for the fate and the life of people together with the exposure of the then existing system of the government and the state. 

The famous Russian Peredvizhniki or Wanderers group was formed in the second half of the 19th century. It included such prominent artists as Ivan Kramskoi, Vasily Perov, Ivan Shishkin, Vasily Surikov, Ilya Repin and others. They had a great influence on the Realist art: it proved itself in many different genres including portrait, landscape, history and genre painting. Judging from the works of Korovin, Serov and many others, the traditions of the movement established themselves in Russia by the beginning of the 20th century. In the mid-19th century Critical realism became very widespread in Russia. This artistic method found its embodiment in the works of P. Fedotov, V. Perov, and such Wanderer artists as I. Kramskoi, N. Yaroshenko, I. Repin and others. Through their works, the painters tried to influence society by focusing the attention on social aspects of life, exposing injustice and immorality prevailing in society of that time. When The October Revolution of 1917 started, on the basis of Realism a new artistic method – it was Socialist realism This method became an aesthetical reflection of revolutionary changes in society, the campaign for peace, democracy and socialism, and creation of a new type of human being.

Nowadays Realism still remains as one of the most popular movement in Russian painting. We invite you visit our catalogue, where you can not only check out our collection of Realist paintings, but also buy them at a quite attractive price.