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Essay On Realism

991 words - 4 pages

How do artists reflect significant social change in their artworks?Art has been subject to opinions and contextual inspiration for centuries, and in doing so has opened up a world for critics and fans to view and judge the artist and his/her works of their era. Artist's throughout the years have tended to vary in their approach to presenting the issues at hand, and so we are left with not only distinguishing themes for eras in the art world, but distinguishing styles where artists have used the inspiration in society and technology to create a basis for their artworks. These artworks reflect important social changes and provide us with historical records of the stages of 'evolution' in the art society that has led us to where we are today.The 'Realism' movement was one that saw a far more 'rough' technique to the works produced, where the artists seemingly refused to 'pretty-up' their subject matter and instead painted what they saw no matter how confronting. This period can be viewed as a time of rebellion against the stereotype developed in the romanticism period. This adoption of technique reflects the social change of the mid to late 19th century, with the issues of class and social status pulling through with the influence of the industrial revolution and new social order. Through the technique and style defining realism, artists were able to create works that confronted their critics from all aspects. This meant that the artworks often had the ability to yield a strong and forceful political statement that has lived on as an opinion recorded in history for viewings sake.This is particularly evident in the works of Gustave Courbet whose works such as "The Painter's Studio" which was refused by the universal exhibition, confronted audiences to the point of rejection, hence ultimately achieving a purpose. "The Stonebreaker's" (1949) is an image of labour throughout the generations (perhaps reflecting the cycle of manual labour being passed on) captured on canvas without being modelled or suited to guidelines. Courbet uses a deliberate use of shadow that frames and emphasizes the two figures in the foreground and the struggle of their labour. Adding fuel to the fire that was his subject matter, Courbet painted his figures life sized and inescapable compelling the audience's full attention to the issue at hand. Daumier raised awareness for the labourers of his society by creating this work, and truly forced the issue of social class amongst society.Other artists whose artworks mirrored the social changes occurring in their lifetimes were Jean Francois Millet, and Honorè Daumier, who both painted works capturing their viewers, held onto the audiences' attention and provoked thought. An example of such subject matter can be found in Jean-Francois Millet, the son of a Normandy farmer, who painted the scenes of a rural world and lifestyle at the moment it was beginning to disappear because of the industrialization of France. "The Gleaners",...

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