Friday, March 26, 2010

(Social) Realism in History

William Hogarth (1697–1764)

William Hogarth was a major British painter, engraver, pictorial satirist, and editorial cartoonist (1697–1764).

Four stages of cruelty

A Rake's Progress (Engravings)

Francisco Goya (1746–1828)
The Disasters of War (Spanish: Los Desastres de la Guerra) are a series of 82[a 1] prints created between 1810 and 1820 by Spanish master painter and printmaker Francisco Goya (1746–1828).

Honoré Daumier (1808 – 1879)
Honoré Daumier (February 26, 1808 – February 10, 1879) was a French printmaker, caricaturist, painter, and sculptor, whose many works offer commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century.
A prolific draftsman who produced over 4000 lithographs, he was perhaps best known for his caricatures of political figures and satires on the behavior of his countrymen, although posthumously the value of his painting has also been recognized.

Honoré Daumier The Beggers

Jean-François Millet (1814 – 1875)
Jean-François Millet (October 4, 1814 – January 20, 1875) was a French painter and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France. Millet is noted for his scenes of peasant farmers; he can be categorized as part of the naturalism and realism movements.

Jean-François Millet The Gleaners 1857

Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877)
Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (10 June 1819–31 December 1877) was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement (characterized by the paintings of Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix), with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social commentary in his work.

Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet After Dinner at Ornans 1849

Sir Samuel Luke Fildes RA (1843 – 1927)
Sir Samuel Luke Fildes RA (October 3, 1843 – February 28, 1927) was an English painter and illustrator born at Liverpool and trained in the South Kensington and Royal Academy schools.

At the age of seventeen Luke Fildes became a student at the Warrington School of Art. Fildes moved to the South Kensington Art school where he met Hubert von Herkomer and Frank Holl. All three men became influenced by the work of Frederick Walker, the leader of the social realist movement in Britain.

Sir Samuel Luke Fildes Applicants for Admission to a Casual Ward 1874

Frank Holl (1845 – 1888)
Frank Holl (July 4, 1845 – July 31, 1888), English painter, was born in London, and was educated chiefly at University College School.

Frank Holl Newgate, Committed for Trial

World (Social) Realist Art (Index of Countries)
This blog page is part of an ongoing project by artist and part-time lecturer Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin ( to explore Realist / Social Realist art from around the world. The term Realism is used in its broadest sense to include 19th century Realism and Naturalism as well as 20th century Impressionism (which after all was following in the path of Courbet and Millet). Social Realism covers art that seeks to examine the living and working conditions of ordinary people (examples include German Expressionism, American Ashcan School and the Mexican Muralists).

Click here for (Social) Realist Art Definitions, World (Social) Realism and Global Solidarity, Art and Politics, Social Realism in history and Country Index.

Suggestions for appropriate artists from around the world welcome to

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