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ART206 Realism

Intro to Realism 1848- 1870

The last half of the nineteenth century, is an age of political, social  and philosophical disorder. From the Napoleonic Wars through the First World War.

The trauma and hope of the Industrial Revolution was more a time when the power of industry ripped apart old modes of life, and worldviews. 

When capitalists could talk of markets utterly free of social responsibility. In contrast to utopian socialists believe that all political and social problems could be solved, if only they gave up their privileged attachment to property.
Nationalism during the 19th Century became a way to control the working class, by a doctrine of war at the expense of workers and warriors. 

Mainline Religions lose influence in the nineteenth century. Popular religions are the evangelical and fundamentalist sects. Which are not hierarchal and involve physical, sensual activity.

Philosophy of Nietzsche – denial of god or higher ethics.

Science proved conclusively that the earth was not created as the Bible said, and that mankind was not made from clay but evolved from the soup.   Darwin’s theories challenge creationism, in terms of evolution of the physical potentials of self.

Unlike the peasants of 18th century, the new urban working class people did not quietly accept their horrid lot in life, as they turn to trade unions and socialism. Karl Marx. Communist Manifesto, 1848.

 Realism a philosophy, which emphasized to be free of convention and tyranny, asserting the rights and dignity of the individual.  Political and social causes became dominant themes in art, until Impressionism, 1880’s

Political power shifts from Kings courts, to  Napoleon and the Republics. The Legislator is dominated by landowners that were former aristocrats, and wealthy merchants or capitalists.

In 1850 the Indonesian volcano creates hardship in Europe and, puts snow on New Hampshire for 2 summers.

REALISM   1848-1870

Dedicated to the "Heroism of the Modern Life"
A response to social/political issues.  A manifesto in reaction to “Romantic artificiality”.

Intense concern with only the observable fact without emotion.  Events that are witnessed with rational examination.  Emotionalism of Romantic was seen as primitive stages of human development.

This attention to observable fact becomes stimulus for Impressionist interests in the science of color and sensation of light.

The realists sees a new era of a rational explanation of nature and society.

Socially, the ideas of Marx and Engels comes to London in 1850's. Defined as Scientific Socialism.  In the artistic and political sense the revolution of 1848, was a reaction against the excesses of the aristocracy. 

Realism was dedicated to a new social order formed on justice for the working class. A devotion to the welfare of being human.
Baudelaire, poet and art critic calls for the heroism of "Modern Life", not allegory, myth, religion, or history.

Different from the Impressionists, the Realists see chromatic hues and gesture as self-indulgent. “One has to begin with sensations of actual experience",

Gustave Courbet 1819-1877 The first leader of Realism is born to wealth in Switzerland.  In Paris at 19, is self-taught by studying masters in the Louvre`, while on pretext of attending law school.   An Outrageous, belligerent personality, comes into conflict with most every institution of authority in France.
But Courbet soon generates animosity and is turned down for the Solon in 1855 because of his intense political stand for a pure republicanism.
So he puts together his own show across the street, and publishes a "Manifesto of Realism".

Under interim republic, is made conservator of academy.  Tries to save old masters work form revolutionary’s destruction, but is accused of participating in the destruction of neo-classical monument to Napoleon.  Can’t pay his fine, he flees to Switzerland and dies at age 58.

In 1870, he is offered the cross of Legion of Honor, which he refuses with Daumier. 

Courbet believed that attention to the "emotions and imagination" by romantics was escapism from social reform.  "I cannot paint an angel or martyr because I've never seen one".  Admires Caravaggio, and Rembrandt.  "To paint exactly what I see, not manipulating the truth".  "The browns of Earth, the realism of every day life".