Art in the 1800s

Discover the types of art popular during the 19th century

Realism

Realism is an art style best known for showing accurate and unembellished scenes of the world as we know it. Adopted as an art style during 19th century France, This type of art rejects the usual imaginative take that the artist has on something and focuses more on the observational aspect. Most art that depicted realism were of people leading their everyday lives. Unlike most art styles, realism does not rely on emotion to get you interested. Rather, they take to an unemotional and fresh point of view that is fairly concise. The most well known Realism artist of this time period was Gustave Courbet, who was one of the first artists to proclaim and practice realism in painting.


The picture on the top right is the Les Demoiselles des bords de la Seine, which is one of Gustave Courbet's most famous paintings. Painted in 1856, it helped the Realism movement that Courbet was responsible for, and is a prime example of Realism. This painting is an example of realism because, rather than trying to convey a certain emotion or embellish the lady sleeping, it simply depicts the scene.

Romanticism

Romanticism is an art style that is best known for the emotion it tries to depict. It was a very popular art style during 1750-1850, and was used mostly to make you feel emotion. A common trait of Romantic art is the use of bold colors and brushstrokes, used to convey a violent yet passionate emotion. Romantic art covers a variety of subjects, such as the life of a peasant, medieval life, or just the power of nature. Romantic art was also used to spread nationalism or to speak about a cause. For example, in the painting Liberty Leading the People, it shows the Goddess of Liberty leading the french people to fight for the cause. The colors are incredibly bold, the shading is emphasized, and the painting depicts the nationalism of the french people. It depicts this by showing the Tri-color in a heavenly glow as the Goddess brings her people to victory.


The Painting on the top right is the Liberty Leading the French People. It was painted in the 1830's by artist Eugene Delacroix.

Impressionism

Impressionism was an art movement that became the leading development of French Painting. The term usually refers to art that tries to capture the first fleeting look at an object or place in the viewer's eye. Unlike the artworks before this, Impressionist art did not try to blend their colors, but rather they painted the colors side by side. Impressionists believed, due to new studies that came out at the time, that human eye would mix these colors on their own. The term impressionism was first used when critic Louis Leroy while he was critiquing Artist Claude Monet's painting Impression: Sunrise. The title was supposed to reference the sketchy look of the art piece, as well as reference the fleeting look you get at something while walking. Unlike realism, Impressionism focuses on how you would draw something if you just got a quick look at something, not how you'd draw it upon hours of observing it.


The painting on the top right is Impression: Sunrise. Created by Claude Monet in 1872, this painting became the reason that impressionists are how we know them today.

Photography

Photography is the art of taking and processing a photograph. It appeared in the 1940's, when Louis Daguerre of France and William Fox Talbot of England had improved on earlier inventions to create photographs. Photos around this time were usually of middle-class families or prominent people, and were very stiff and posed portraits. Others were used to capture the fantasies of far-away places for the dreamers and romantics. As time went on, photographs were used to show the grim realities of the present. On such photograph was taken by Mathew B. Brady during the American Civil War. His photo showed a vivid record of a battlefield filled with corpses. Other photographers produced photos of harsh conditions in industrial factories or slums


The photograph on the top right is Wounded Soldiers Under Trees, Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg, after the battle of Spotsylvania. Taken in 1864, it is one of many photos that Brady took during the American Civil War, and features just what the title says it does.

Post- Impressionism

The Postimpressionists were a large group of painters that developed a variety of styles. One Postimpressionist was Georges Seurat, who arranged small colored dots to define the shapes of an object. Another Postimpressionist was the Dutch Painter Vincent Van Gogh, who experimented with sharp lines and and bright colors. Finally, Paul Gauguin was a Postimpressionist who developed a bold and personal style. Rejecting the materialistic ways of western life, he went to live on the island of Tahiti. Perhaps as a result of this, people in his paintings look flat, similar to primitive folk art. However, his artwork consisted of brooding colors and black outlines, creating intense feelings and images.


The painting on the top right is Starry Night created by Vincent Van Gogh. Created in 1886, it is one of the most well known and recognizable pieces of art to date.