a history of western art

from the renaissance to the present

Millet, The Gleaners, French Realism, 1857

How is the subject and overall intent of this work a perfect example of French Realism? Although the work looks documentary, how does Millet use the work as a form of social criticism?


Daumier, Rue Transnonain, French Realism, 1834

What is the story of the Rue Transnonain, and how is it a perfect subject for Realism? Although the work looks documentary, how does Daumier demonstrate the innocence of the family, and the unjustness of their deaths? What was Daumier’s attitude towards the French government?


Courbet, The Stone-breakers, French Realism, 1849

How is the subject and overall intent of this work a perfect example of French Realism? Although the work looks documentary, how does Courbet use the work as a form of social criticism?


Realism


people, terms, and concepts: realism (vs. idealization), contemporary, middle classes (bourgeoisie), working classes (proletariat), social criticism

The Realist movement is found during the mid-nineteenth century all across Europe (although we will here concentrate on France), and is strongly associated with working-class social movements such as Socialism.


          What are the main differences between Neo-classicism and Realism? What kind of subject-matter and form do Realists tend to choose? What were the Realists' attitude toward history-painting and idealization?

•  How do all three of the works below use art as social criticism, specifically calling attention to the struggles and oppression of the working classes (proletariat and peasants)? How did the rise of industrial capitalism contribute to these struggles and oppression?

•  Be able to recognize an obvious example of Realism, and analyze the work (form and subject matter) to explain how you knew.

•  Know that although Neo-classicism, Romanticism, and Realism were recognized as distinct styles, they could also be combined, so that you could have, for example, a classical subject with Romantic form, or a realistic subject in a classical style.