Thigpen IWT Task 1 1v2

Topics: World War II, Surrealism, Western painting Pages: 7 (1440 words) Published: April 16, 2015
Running Head: Discussion on Realism and Surrealism

Discussion on Realism and Surrealism
William Thigpen
Western Governors University
Discussion on Realism and Surrealism

Realism and Surrealism were very similar and dissimilar at the same time. In realism the artist wanted to keep truth and accuracy to what they were depicting. In surrealism, the artists wanted to take the truth and a new dimension to it, to make it more dream like. During the realism period the world was going through a great change. The industrial revolution was just ending, more and more people where moving from farms and the countryside to the cities during a period of great urbanization. Surrealism took off during the interwar years between World War I and II. Europe was recovering from the massive war, America was enjoying a period of rapid industrial expansion and then the Great Depression hit and the world changed once again.

The realism art movement began in the 1850’s in France just after the 1848 revolution ((Finocchio, 2000). During the realism period the world was going through great changes. Realism began right after the industrial revolution had ended. During this period there were many agriculutral technological advances that increased the productivity of farms. More and more people had moved to the cities to find work. Also the gap between the working classes widened. According to Eli Whiney, there was no bigger distinction than between the working class and the new middle class (Whitney, 2014). Due to technological advances the working class was becoming unemployed. Machines began replacing workers, skilled and unskilled alike.

The realism art movement reflected the realities of everyday life. The artists wanted to draw attention to what was happening in the everyday lives of the people. According to Ross Finocchio, realism artists rejected Romanticism art and wanted to convey the truth and accuracy of contemporary life (Finocchio, 2000). Artists like Gustave Courbet, wanted to highlight what was actually going on in the lives of those he observed, which Courbet did with his famous Stone Breakers painting, in which he depicts a young man and an old man hard at work breaking up stones. An artist who was a contempory of Courbet was Jean-Francois Millet who according to Finocchio, whent the opposite direction of many people. While many people where leaving the rural countryside to go to the cities. Millet did the opposite he headed out to the country to get away from the rapid growth of the cities ( (Finocchio, 2000). Where he wanted to truthfully depict life in the rural communites that is reflected in many of his paintings like The Bather, Harvesters Resting, and A Farmer’s Wife Sweeping ( (Unknown, 2014).

According to James Voorhies of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Surrealism started in the 1910’s and lasted until the start of World War II in Europe and the 1950’s in America (Voorhies, 2014). Surrealism came about mostly during the inter war years between World War I and World War II. This was a time of great change especially in Europe while the individual countries were trying to recover from the war that devastated the land. Most European countries saw a large economic boom after the war. Quality of life for many Europeans improved except for Germans who were struggling to pay the large debts and penalties from the cost of the war. In the United States it was the Roaring Twenties, which was also a time of great economic and social growth. Surrealism was affected by the Great Depression which was reflected in some of their paintings which can be seen in paintings by Stella Snead and Joan Miro (Unknown, Surrealism (c. 1921 CE - 1942 CE), 2014).

Surrealism focuses on using fantastical imagery in a more realistic setting. There are two broad types of painting. Artists like Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte focused on more dreamlike, subconscious style paintings. The other style used...

Bibliography: Finocchio, R. (2000). "Nineteenth-Century French Realism". Retrieved from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: (October 2004)
Prinsloo, M. (2014, July 27). The impact of Surrealism in contemorary culture, art, cinema and fashion. Retrieved from Marlizeprinsloohistory:
Unknown. (2014 , July 27). Rene Magritte and his paintings. Retrieved from Rene Magritte:
Unknown. (2014 , July 27). Surrealism in terms from the artzine on Retrieved from Artpublic:
Unknown. (2014, July 27). Jean-Francois Millet the Complete Works. Retrieved from Jean-Francois Millet the Complete Works:
Unknown. (2014, July 27). Surrealism (c. 1921 CE - 1942 CE). Retrieved from Art in Sight:
Voorhies, J. (2014, July 27). Surrealism. Retrieved from The Metropolitan Museum of Art :
Whitney, E. (2014, July 26). Industrial Revolution - Classes of People. Retrieved from Industrial Revolution Research:
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