Realism 1848-1860

Realism, in the history of art, represents a revolution, not only in terms of subject matter, but in terms of style. Here, both form and content are radically transformed by the inclination towards portraying reality as it is. Obviously, the cynic here could interject and suggest: how does someone know what is real, what point of view about reality is the artist talking about when he or she portrays a work in a “realistic” sense? The answer, especially in terms of nineteenth century realism, and more specifically the period from 1848-1860, is that realism looks to the everyday surrounding world for its subject matter and its inspiration in style and technique: the artist must dedicate him or herself to the quotidian and the mundane, taking motivation from everyday people that one encounters and everyday landscapes that one inhabits.