19th Century Realism
By: Lily Simeon

The Stone Breakers(2)

What is Realism?
Realism is the truthful treatment of everyday life material, which is basically the art of accurate and realistic depictions of life.

Realism mainly portrays ordinary people living their lives, and does not imitate art seen in previous times.

Where did it come from?
There were many contributing factors that lead to the rise of the Realism movement, but there are a few main ones: Realism was a reaction to the falseness and sappiness of Romanticism; Ordinary people wanted art that they could relate to; Realism was a reaction to the social and political upheaval the people of the 19th century faced; and Realism was also a result of the introduction of photography.

Who were some famous Realists?

Jean-Francois Millet

Honore Daumier
Edouard Manet
Adolf von Menzel

Gustave Courbet

Jean-Francois Millet was a French painter who lived from
October 4, 1814 – January 20, 1875. He was also one of the founders of the Barbizon school. Debatably, Millet’s most valuable contribution to history was that he was a significant source of inspiration for the famous painter Vincent Van Gough and Claude Monet.


Honore Daumier was French painter, sculptor, caricaturist, and printmaker who lived from February 26, 1808 – February 10, 1879. Daumier’s works provided views of his opinions on both social and political life of the 19th century in France. He is most famous for his caricatures of political figures and satire of the behavior of the French countrymen.

Social Impact

The social impact of Realism on the people on the 19th century was that the working class and other common people gained a voice in art, literature, and history. From previous times, art focused on the rich and powerful, but with Realism came the focus on the common people, therefore making them feel empowered.

Famous Works:


Tilting at Windmills
(1832)- Honore Daumier
This picture is a caricature made by Honore Daumier
of King Louis Philippe as ‘Gargantua’. This is an example of Daumier’s expression of his political opinion; in this picture he expresses his disdain for King Louis Philippe. However after this picture was published, Daumier spent six months in prison.

The Bar at the Folies-Bergere
(1881-2) –Edouard Manet

This painting by Edouard Manet is of a woman tending a bar, which is a great representation of Realism because of its commonality. This woman is of the working class and many woman of the 19th century could be properly characterized by her.

Realism Bibliography:
1. Wyeth, Andrew. Braids. Digital image. International Art Treasures. AM Art Inc. and The Mint Museums, 2004. Web. 25 Sept. 2009. <http://www.iatwm.com/200410/Wyeth/index.html>.

2. Courbet, Gustave. The Stone Breakers. Digital image. Southern Utah University. James M. Aton, 2009. Web. 25 Sept. 2009. <http://www.suu.edu/faculty/aton/3260images/courbetstone.html>.

3. Degas, Edgar. The Absinthe Drinker. Digital image. Jahsonic.com. Apr. 2006. Web. 25 Sept. 2009. <http://www.jahsonic.com/SocialRealism.html>.

4. Habegger, Alfred. "Realism." Gender, Fantasy, and Realism in American Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982. 103-112. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Lynn M. Zott. Vol. 120. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 103-112. Literature Resource Center. Gale. MARY INSTITUTE & ST LOUIS DAY SCHOOL. 27 Sept. 2009 <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/start.do?p=LitRC&u=sain62671>.

5. Berthoff, Warner. "American Realism: A Grammar of Motives." The Ferment of Realism: American Literature, 1884-1919. New York: The Free Press, 1965. 1-47. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Lynn M. Zott. Vol. 120. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 1-47. Literature Resource Center. Gale. MARY INSTITUTE & ST LOUIS DAY SCHOOL. 28 Sept. 2009 <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/start.do?p=LitRC&u=sain62671>.

6. Jean-Francois Millet. The Knitting Lesson. St. Louis Art Museum. Museum Purchase 106:1939. St. Louis, Missouri.

7. "19th Century Realism." Art History. 2006. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <http://www.fineartsurrey.com/artTypeDetail.php?aid=35>.

8. Cavaliere, Barbara. "Art Periods: REALISM." Discover France. 1997. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <http://www.discoverfrance.net/France/Art/realism.shtml>.

9. Manet, Edouard. The Bar at the Folies-Bergere. Digital image. Evansville. 1881-2. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <http://faculty.evansville.edu/rl29/art105/f01/art105-7.html>.

10. "Jean-François Millet." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 25 Sep 2009, 15:47 UTC. 25 Sep 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jean-Fran%C3%A7ois_Millet&oldid=316141319>.

11. "Honoré Daumier." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 26 Sep 2009, 20:40 UTC. 26 Sep 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Honor%C3%A9_Daumier&oldid=316364026>.

12. Daumier, Honore. Tilting at Windmills. Digital image. Blogspot. Art Blog By Bob, 20 Feb. 2008. Web. 28 Sept. 2009. <http://artblogbybob.blogspot.com/2008_02_01_archive.html>.

13. Millet, Jean-Francois. The Gleaners. Digital image. Willow House Chronicles. 15 Feb. 2009. Web. 28 Sept. 2009. <http://willowhousechronicles.wordpress.com/2009/02/15/the-gleaners/>.