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					Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                                           Gustave Courbet
                                                                                                        ”The Stone Breakers”
 The Lowest of the Low                                                                                                 1849

   Even though Courbet shunned the concept of “labels”, he used
   the word realism when exhibiting his own work.

   The realists argued that only the things of one’s own time, what
   people can see for themselves, are “real”.

   They focused their attention on the experiences and sights of
   everyday contemporary life and disapproved of traditional and
   fictional subjects on the grounds that they were not real and
   visible and were not of the present world.

   Courbet was quoted by the following in 1861:
                                                                          In this painting, Courbet presents the viewers with a
   To be able to translate the customs, ideas, and appearances of         glimpse into the life of a rural toiler. He has
   my own time as I see them- in a word, to create a living art- this     captured on his canvas, in a straightforward
   has been my aim..... (T)he art of painting can consist only in         manner, two males. One mature, and the other
   the representation of objects visible and tangible to the              very young, these workers are displayed in the act
   painter..... (who must apply) his personal faculties to the ideas      of breaking stones. This activity is traditionally the
   and the things of the period in which he lives.......... I hold also   lot of the lowest in society.
   that painting is an essential concrete art, and can consist only
   of the representation of things both real and existing...... An        Their menial labor is neither romanticized nor
   abstract object, invisible or nonexistent, does not belong in the      idealized but is shown with directness and accuracy
   domain of painting..... Show me an angel, and I’ll paint one”29-1
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                                        Gustave Courbet
                                                                                                     ”The Stone Breakers”
 The Lowest of the Low                                                                                              1849

    Courbet revealed to the viewers
   the drudgery of this labor. His
   palette’s dirty browns and grays
   convey the dreary and dismal
   nature of the task, while the
   angular positioning of the older
   stone breakers limbs suggest a
   mechanical monotony.

   This interest in the laboring poor
   as subject matter had special
   meaning for the mid-nineteenth-
   century French audience. In
   1848, workers rebelled against
   the bourgeois leaders of the
   newly formed Second Republic
   and against the rest of the nation,
   demanding better working
   conditions and redistribution of      The army quelled the revolution in three days, but not without significant loss of
   property.                             life and long-lasting trauma. The Revolution of 1848 thus raised the issue of
                                         labor as a national concern and placed workers on the center stage, both literally
                                         and symbolically.

                           Figure 29-1
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                                Gustave Courbet
                                                                                            ”The Burial of Ornans”
 The Anonymity of Peasant Life 29-2
                             Figure                                                           Louvre, Paris. 1849

   Depicts a funeral in a bleak provinicial landscape
   attended by “common, trivial” persons.

   An officious clergyman reads the Office of the Dead,
   those attending cluster around the excavated grave
   site, their faces registering all degrees of response to
   the situation
   The painting has the monumental scale of a traditional
   history painting, the subjects ordinariness and the
   starkly antiheroic composition horrified contemporary
   critics.                                                   Behind and above the figures are bands of
                                                              overcast sky and barren cliffs. The dark pit of
   Arranged in a wavering line extending across the broad     the grave opens into the viewers space in the
   horizontal width of the canvas, the figures are            center foreground.
   portrayed in groups. The somberly clad women at the
   back right, a semicircle of similarly clad men by the      The herioc, the sublime, and the terrible are not
   open grave, and assorted churchmen at the left. The        found here- only the drab facts of undramatized
   viewers attention is wholly on the wall of figures, seen   life and death.
   at eye level in person.. Some of the faces are portraits
   of Courbet’s friends.
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                           Gustave Courbet
                                       ”The Burial of Ornans”
 The Anonymity of Peasant Life 29-2
                             Figure      Louvre, Paris. 1849
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                                    Jean-François Millet
                                                                                                         ”The Gleaners”
 The Painter of Country Life                                                                         Louvre, Paris. 1857

   Millet depicts three peasant women
   performing the back-breaking task of
   gleaning the wheat scraps. These women
   were members of the lowest level of
   peasant society, and such impoverished
   people were permitted to pick up the
   remainders left in the field after the

   Millet placed his monumental figures in the
   foreground against a broad sky. Although
   the field stretches back to the rim of
   haystack’s , cottages, trees, and distant
   workers on a flat horizon, the viewers
   attention is of the gleaners.

   Millet’s sympathetic depiction of the poor
   seemed to many like political manifesto.
                                                  Millet’s investing the poor with solemn grandeur did not meet with the
   The French public reacted to paintings         approval of the prosperous classes. The middle class mind linked it
   such as The Gleaners with disdain and          with the dangerous, newly defined working class, which was finding
   suspicion.                                     outspoken champions in men such as Karl Marx.
                                    Figure 29-3
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                                        Honoré Daumier
                                                                                                       ”Rue Transnonain”
 Lampooning The Powers That Be                                                          Philadelphia Museum of Art. 1834

   Daumier boldly confronted authority with
   social criticism and political protest in a
   time when you could be jailed for too bold
   a statement in the press. These people
   realized the power of art to serve political
   means. Ultimately, the artist, Daumier got

   Honoré Daumier was a defender of the
   urban working cass and contributed
   satirical lithographs to the French
   Republican journal, Caricature, where he
   reached a large audience portraying the
   misbehavior of politicians, lawyers,
   doctors, and the rich bourgeoisie in

   This lithograph, Rue Transnonain, depicts      fatal shot had come from a workers’ housing block, the remaining guards
   the same type of atrocity as Goya’s The        immediately stormed the building massacred all of its inhabitants. Daumier
   Third of May in 1808. The title refers to a    created an atrocity from a sharp, realistic angle of vision. Above is the
   street in Paris where an unknown sniper        depiction of the quiet aftermath - not the dramatic execution. The
   killed a civil guard, part of a government     significance lies in its factualness. It’s an example of the time period’s
   force trying to repress a worker               increasing artistic bias toward using facts as subject.
   demonstration. Because the Figure 29-5
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                  Honoré Daumier
                                                                  ”Nadar Rising to the Height of Art”
 Photography Becomes Art                                              Boston Museum of Art. 1862

   This is an amusing lithograph by the French caricaturist
   and painter, Honoré Daumier, which portrays a famous
   photographer ascending over Paris with camera in hand.

   In 1858, Nadar, takes the first aerial photographs in a
   balloon over Paris. This a satirical emblem of a
   photographer’s aspiration.

   Unlike a lot of other artists, most of Daumier’s pieces
   were comical and he had little respect for the “finished
   product” that he cavalierly flung all of his pencil sketches
   onto one stack, where the combined weight and friction
   of the paper eventually erased many of his images over
   the years.
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                                   Honoré Daumier
                                                                                              ”Third-Class Carriage”
 The Plight of the Urban Poor                                                Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. 1862

  This unfinished piece provides a glimpse into
  the cramped and grimy railway carriage of
  the 1860’s.

  The riders are poor and can afford only third-
  class tickets. Third-class passengers were
  crammed together on benches in that filled
  the carriage, while first and second class
  passengers had there own closed

  Daumier was concerned mainly with
  portraying the disinherited masses of
  nineteenth century industrialism. He showed
  them in the unposed attitudes and
  unplanned arrangements of the millions
  thronging the modern cities - anonymous,
  insignificant, dumbly patient with a lot they
  could not change.
                                                   He tried to achieve the real by isolation a random collection of the
  Daumier saw people as they ordinarily            unrehearsed details of human existence from the continuum of
  appeared, their faces vague, impersonal,         ordinary life. Daumier’s vision anticipated the spontaneity and candor
  and blank - unprepared for any observers.        of scenes captured with the modern snapshot camera at the end of
                                     Figure 29-6   the century.
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                                       Edouard Manet
                                                                          ”Luncheon on the Grass” ( Déjuner sur l’herbe)
 Promiscuity In A Parisian Park?                                                            Musé d’Orsay, Paris. 1863

   Manet was a pivotal figure during the nineteenth
   century. Not only was his work critical for the
   articulation of Realist principles, but his art
   played an important role in the development of
   Impressionism in the 1870’s.

   Although historians can suggest precedents for
   the theme of Le Dejeuner, nothing about the
   paintings foreground figures recalls those eariler
   models. In fact, the foreground figures were all
   based on living , identifiable people.

   The seated nude is Victorine Meurend (Manet’s
   favorite model at the time), and the gentlemen
   are his brother Eugene (with cane) and the
   sculptor Ferdinand Leenhof. The foreground
   nude is not only a distressingly unidealized figure
   type, but she also seems disturbingly unabashed
   and at ease, looking directly at the view without      This outraged the public - rather that a traditional pastoral scene,
   shame in a flirtatious manner.                         Le Dejeuner seemed merely to represent the promiscuous in a
                                                          Parisan park.
                                            Figure 29-7
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                                        Edouard Manet
 Scandalous and Shameless                                                                      Musé d’Orsay, Paris. 1863

  This work depicts a young white woman
  reclining on a bed that extends across the
  foreground. She is entirely nude except for
  a thin black ribbon tied around her neck, a
  bracelet on her arm, an orchid in her hair,
  and mule slippers on her feet. The black
  woman behind her presents a bouquet of

  The image was quite scandelous to the
  French viewing public. The critics and public
  were horrified. Viewers were taken back by
  the shamelessness of Olympia and her look
  that verges on defiance.

  People thought that this painting presented
  moral depravity, inferiority, and animalistic
                                                    “...a courtesan with dirty hands and wrinkled feet, her body has the
  Manet’s brushstrokes are rougher and the          livid tint of a cadaver displayed in the morgue; her outlines are drawn
  shifts in tonality are more abrupt than those     in charcoal and her greenish, bloodshot eyes appear to be provoking
  found in traditional academic painting.           the public, protected all the while by a hideous Negress.”

                                      Figure 29-8
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                Adolphe-William Bougereau
                                                                                        ”Nymphs and Satyr”
 Academic Art’s Conventions and Appeal                                                               1873

   Bouguereau depicted classical mythological subjects with a
   polished illusionism.

   In this painting, the flirtatious and ideally beautiful nymphs strike
   graceful poses yet seem based as closely on nature as are the
   details of their leafy surroundings. They playfully pull in different
   directions the satyr, the mythical beast-man, with a goat’s
   hindquarters and horns, a horse’s ears and tail, and a man’s upper

   Although this scene is very naturalistic, it is emphatically not

   His choice of fictional theme and adherence to established painting
   conventions could have been seen only as staunchly traditional.

   Bouguereau was immensely popular during the later nineteenth
   century, enjoying the favor of state patronage throughout his career.

                                                                  Figure 29-9
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                        Marie-Rosalie (Rosa) Bonheur
                                                                                                      ” The Horse Fair”
 A Realist Painter Of Animals                                                    Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. 1855

   - The horses run around in circles very
   energetically to show off their value to
   potential customers.

   - Bonheur’s love of animals is reflected in
   the way in which she conveys their power
   and majesty. Also, by the way the handlers
   have to concentrate fully on keeping them
   under control.

   - The viewers attention is focused on the        -Background info: Horses were very important when this was painted
   horses by the simple surroundings: a wall,       almost 150 years ago. Since there were no cars, and travel by train was
   trees, and small patches of sky. (ALSO- by       new and limited, horses were the main means of traspertation. At horse
   the fact that no barriers exist between the      fairs like the one in the painting, the horse dealers would show off their
   viewer and the animals.) It also helps that      animals to potential buyers.
   the foreground is open, allowing easy
   access to the scene.                             -Bonheur, the artist, loved horses and believed that in order to paint
                                                    them correctly you had to see them up close. The one problem was that
                                                    as a woman, she was not allowed to attend horse shows like these.

                                     Figure 29-10
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                                 Winslow Homer
                                                                                     ” The Veteran in a New Field”
 An American Realist                                                                                        1865

    “The Veteran in a New field” was painted
   4-5 months after the surrender at
   Appomattox April 9th, 1865.
   It shows a northern veteran of the war
   has taken off his jacket and canteen and
   put them to one side. He has taken up a
   scythe and begins to harvest a field of

   It may be that Homer was referencing
   this man’s “new field” to his “old field”
   (the old field being the civil war
   battleground) where he cut down men,
   not crops.

   We might also imagine that he has in
   mind as he harvests the wheat a verse
   from Isaiah 2:4 “And they shall beat their   Homer deliberatley chose incorrect agricultural implement
   swords into ploughshares, and their          (single-blade scythe instead of cradled scythe) in order to
   spears into pruning hooks; nations shall     make reference to Death as grim reaper.
   not lift up sword against nation, neither
   shall they learn war any more.”
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                       Thomas Eakins
                                                                     ”The Gross Clinic”
 An Image Not For the Squeamish                                                  1875

   One of Eakins early masterpieces, “The Gross Clinic” is in
   the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. This painting
   shows the public’s increasing faith in scientific and medical

   This patient suffered from osteomyelitis, a bone infection.
   This image records a particular event at a particular time.

   Eakins believed that knowledge was a preequisite to his
   art. He was very concerned with the anatomical
   correctness of his work, which led him to investigate the
   human form and humans in motion, both with regular
   photographic apparatuses and with a special camera that
   the French kinesiologist, a person who studies the
   physiology of body movement, Etienne-Jules Marey

                                                      Figure 29-11
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                                                        Eadweard Muybridge
                                                                                                           ”Horse Galloping”
 Everything But The Clatter of Hoofs                                                                                   1878

   The governor of California, Leland Stanford,
   sought Muybridge to settle a bet about
   whether, at any point in a stride, all four feet
   of a horse galloping at top speed are off the
   ground. Through this sequential
   photography, he proved they were.

   This was the beginning of his photographic
   studies of the successive stages in human
   and animal motion. His investigations
   culminated at the University of Pennsylvania
   with a series of multiple-camera motion
   studies. These studies influenced many
   other artists, including Degas and

   Muybridge presented his work to scientists
   and general audiences with a device called
   the zoopraxiscope, which he invented to            The result was very lifelike, and the illusion of motion was created by a
   project his sequences of images onto a             physical fact of human eyesight called “persistence of vision.” This
   screen.                                            illusion lies at the heart of the “realism” of all cinema.
                                       Figure 29-12
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                   John Singer Seargent
                                                     ”The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit”
 Academic Art’s Conventions and Appeal                  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 1882

   The four girls depicted in this painting are
   the children of one of Sargent’s close
   friends and they appear in a hall and a small
   drawing room in their Paris home.

   Their informal arrangement in the room
   suggests that they are comfortable with their
   surroundings such as the Japanese vase,
   the red screen, and the fringed rug.

   The rug gives us a scale upon which to
   measure the petit size of the small children.

   Sargent was trying to record the gradation
   of young innocence in the girls.

                                      Figure 29-13
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                                 John Singer Seargent
                                                   ”The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit”
 Academic Art’s Conventions and Appeal                Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 1882

    He captured the naive little girl in the
    foreground, the grave artlessneess of
    the ten-year-old child, and the slightly
    self-conscious poise of the adolescents.

    Since the figures and setting are placed
    randomly, they communicate a sense of

    This painting is a most effective
    embodiment of the Realist belief that the
    artist’s business is to record the modern
    being in modern context.

                                    Figure 29-13
Realism: The Painting of Modern Life
                                                  Henry Ossawa Tanner
                                                    ”The Thankful Poor”
 The Devotion of Ordinary People                                  1894

   Henry Ossawa Tanner had the desire to
   depict the lives of ordinary people. The
   people painted in this scene are full of
   quiet devotion. The grandfather,
   grandchild, and the main objects in the
   room are painted with the greatest detail,
   while everything else dissolves into loose
   strokes of color and light. The extreme
   lighting pours through the window and the
   deep shadows intensify the man’s devout
   concentration and the younger character’s
   expression of thanksgiving.

   Over time, Realist artist throughout Europe
   and America expanded and diversified
   their subjects to embrace all classes and
   levels of society, all types of people and
   environments. These paintings reflected
   interest in national and regional
   characteristics, in folk customs and
   culture, and in the quaintness of local
                                   Figure 22-13
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
                                                                                               John Everett Millais
                                                                                                        ” Ophelia”
 A Shakesperean Heroine Drowned                                                                              1852

  The subject of the painting, from
  Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is the
  drowning of Ophelia. Millais’s
  technique was optically realistic, but
  nineteenth-century Realists would
  have complained the subject was
  playacting, not very realistic. Millais
  brought the fictive action of a
  theatrical event before the viewers’

  The Nineteenth-century Realists
  objected that picture dramas like
  Ophelia were not paintings but
  merely stage productions and could
  only be judged as such.
                                                                    Her clothes spread wide,
                                            Excerpt from Ophelia:   And mermaidlike awhile they bore her up--
                                                                    Whice tie she chanted snatches of old tunes,
                            Figure 29-15                            As one incapable of her own distress.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
                                                                    Dante Gabriel Rossetti
                                                                             ”Beata Beatrix”
 The Heroic Female                                               Tate Gallery, London. 1863

         He married Elizabeth Siddal although she was
   known to be dying. Neither of them had much money and
   he neglected her, preferring instead to dally with other
   women. Her health deteriorated and she died tragically
   young, two years later, by her own hand with laudanum,
   although the official verdict was accidental death. He
   appears to come to terms with his feelings for Lizzie in
   1864-70 while he painted Beata Beatrix, ostensibly about
   Dante and Beatrix, but really about Lizzie.

   Rossetti’s inspiration for this painting was the Vita Nuova
   (New Life), the Italian poet Dante’s account of his
   idealised love for Beatrice, and of her premature death.
   The death of Beatrice is symbolised by a sudden spiritual
   transfiguration. A bird, a messenger of death, drops a
   white poppy between her open hands. The shadow of the
   sundial rests on the figure nine, the number Dante
   connects mystically with Beatrice and her death. In the
   background the shadowy figure of Dante gazes towards
   the figure of Love. Rossetti saw this work as a memorial
   to his wife, Elizabeth Siddall, who had died in 1862

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