Classical Realism

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Academy of Classical Design, Cast Studio - Southern Pines, NC. Academy of Classical Design ~ Cast Hall.jpg
Academy of Classical Design, Cast Studio - Southern Pines, NC.

Classical Realism is an artistic movement in the late-20th and early 21st century in which drawing and painting place a high value upon skill and beauty, combining elements of 19th-century neoclassicism and realism.

Drawing visual artwork in two-dimensional medium

Drawing is a form of visual art in which a person uses various drawing instruments to mark paper or another two-dimensional medium. Instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, various kinds of paints, inked brushes, colored pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, various kinds of erasers, markers, styluses, and various metals. Digital drawing is the act of using a computer to draw. Common methods of digital drawing include a stylus or finger on a touchscreen device, stylus- or finger-to-touchpad, or in some cases, a mouse. There are many digital art programs and devices.

Painting Practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface

Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, such as knives, sponges, and airbrushes, can be used. The final work is also called a painting.

A skill is the ability to carry out a task with determined results often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills. For example, in the domain of work, some general skills would include time management, teamwork and leadership, self-motivation and others, whereas domain-specific skills would be used only for a certain job. Skill usually requires certain environmental stimuli and situations to assess the level of skill being shown and used.

Contents

Origins

Jean-Leon Gerome. Pollice Verso (1872). Classical Realism traces its lineage from Gerome. Jean-Leon Gerome Pollice Verso.jpg
Jean-Léon Gérôme. Pollice Verso (1872). Classical Realism traces its lineage from Gérôme.

The term "Classical Realism" first appeared as a description of literary style, as in an 1882 criticism of Milton's poetry. [1] Its usage relating to the visual arts dates back to at least 1905 in a reference to Masaccio's paintings. [2] It originated as the title of a contemporary but traditional artistic movement with Richard Lack (1928–2009), who was a pupil of Boston artist R. H. Ives Gammell (1893–1981) during the early 1950s. Ives Gammell had studied with William McGregor Paxton (1869–1941) and Paxton had studied with 19th-century French artist, Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904). In 1967 Lack established Atelier Lack, a studio-school of fine art patterned after the ateliers of 19th-century Paris and the teaching of the Boston impressionists. By 1980 he had trained a significant group of young painters. In 1982, they organized a traveling exhibition of their work and that of other artists within the artistic tradition represented by Gammell, Lack and their students. Lack was asked by Vern Swanson, director of the Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah, (the exhibition's originating venue), to coin a term that would differentiate the realism of the heirs of the Boston tradition from that of other representational artists. Although he was reluctant to label this work, Lack chose the expression "Classical Realism." It was first used in the title of that exhibition: Classical Realism: The Other Twentieth Century. The term, "Classical Realism", was originally intended to describe work that combined the fine drawing and design of the European academic tradition as exemplified by Gérôme with the observed color values of the American Boston tradition as exemplified by Paxton.

John Milton 17th-century English poet and civil servant

John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), written in blank verse.

Masaccio 15th-century Italian Renaissance painter

Masaccio, born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, was a Florentine artist who is regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, Masaccio was the best painter of his generation because of his skill at imitating nature, recreating lifelike figures and movements as well as a convincing sense of three-dimensionality. He employed nudes and foreshortenings in his figures. This had seldom been done before him.

Robert Hale Ives Gammell was an American artist best known for his sequence of paintings based on Francis Thompson's poem "The Hound of Heaven". Gammell painted symbolic images that reflected his study of literature, mythology, psychology, and religion.

In 1985 Atelier Lack began publishing the Classical Realism Quarterly, featuring articles written by Richard Lack and his students to educate and inform the public about traditional representational painting. In 1988 Lack and several associates founded The American Society of Classical Realism, a society organized to preserve and promote fine representational art. The ASCR functioned until 2005 and published the influential Classical Realism Journal and Classical Realism Newsletter.

In a separate vein, another major contributor to the revival of traditional drawing and painting knowledge is the painter and art instructor Ted Seth Jacobs (born 1927), who taught students at the Art Students League and the New York Academy of Art in New York City. [3] Their lineage is rooted in the Académie Julian, the Golden Age of Illustration in New York, and the School of Paris. In 1987 Ted Seth Jacobs created his own art school, L'Ecole Albert Defois in Les Cerqueux sous Passavant, France (49). Many of Jacobs' students such as Anthony Ryder and Jacob Collins became influential teachers and acquired their own student following. [4]

Art Students League of New York art school located on West 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City

The Art Students League of New York is an art school located on West 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City, New York. The League has historically been known for its broad appeal to both amateurs and professional artists and for over 130 years has maintained a tradition of offering reasonably priced classes on a flexible schedule to accommodate students from all walks of life.

Académie Julian Art school in Paris, France

The Académie Julian was a private art school for painting and sculpture founded in Paris, France, in 1867 by French painter and teacher Rodolphe Julian (1839–1907) that was active from 1868 through 1968. It remained famous for the number and quality of artists who attended during the great period of effervescence in the arts in the early twentieth century. After 1968, it integrated with ESAG Penninghen.

Style and philosophy

Classical Realism is characterized by love for the visible world and the great traditions of Western art, including Classicism, Realism and Impressionism. The movement's aesthetic is Classical in that it exhibits a preference for order, beauty, harmony and completeness; it is Realist because its primary subject matter comes from the representation of nature based on the artist's observation. [5] Artists in this genre strive to draw and paint from the direct observation of nature, and eschew the use of photography or other mechanical aids. In this regard, Classical Realism differs from the art movements of Photorealism and Hyperrealism. Stylistically, classical realists employ methods used by both Impressionist and Academic artists.

Classicism art movement

Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for a classical period, classical antiquity in the Western tradition, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate. The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed, "if we object to his restraint and compression we are simply objecting to the classicism of classic art. A violent emphasis or a sudden acceleration of rhythmic movement would have destroyed those qualities of balance and completeness through which it retained until the present century its position of authority in the restricted repertoire of visual images." Classicism, as Clark noted, implies a canon of widely accepted ideal forms, whether in the Western canon that he was examining in The Nude (1956), or the literary Chinese classics or Chinese art, where the revival of classic styles is also a recurring feature.

Impressionism 19th-century art movement

Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement characterized by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities, ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles. Impressionism originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s.

Photorealism art genre and movement

Photorealism is a genre of art that encompasses painting, drawing and other graphic media, in which an artist studies a photograph and then attempts to reproduce the image as realistically as possible in another medium. Although the term can be used broadly to describe artworks in many different media, it is also used to refer specifically to a group of paintings and painters of the American art movement that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Classical Realist painters have attempted to restore curricula of training that develop a sensitive, artistic eye and methods of representing nature that pre-date Modern Art. They seek to create paintings that are personal, expressive, beautiful, and skillful. Their subject matter includes all of the traditional categories within Western Art: figurative, landscape, portraiture, indoor and outdoor genre and still life paintings.

Figurative art art that depicts real object sources

Figurative art, sometimes written as figurativism, describes artwork that is clearly derived from real object sources and so is, by definition, representational. The term is often in contrast to abstract art:

Since the arrival of abstract art the term figurative has been used to refer to any form of modern art that retains strong references to the real world.

Still life art genre

A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which are either natural or man-made.

A central idea of Classical Realism is the belief that the Modern Art movements of the 20th century opposed the tenets and production of traditional art and caused a general loss of the skills and methods needed to produce it. Modernism was antagonistic to art as it was conceived by the Greeks, resurrected in the Renaissance, and carried on by the academies of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. [6] Classical Realist artists attempt to revive the idea of art production as it was traditionally understood: mastery of a craft in order to make objects that gratify and ennoble those who see them. [7] This craftsmanship is then applied to drawing, painting or sculpting contemporary subjects which the artist observes in the modern world.

Renaissance European cultural period, 14th to 17th century

The Renaissance is a period in European history, covering the span between the 14th and 17th centuries and marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity. The traditional view focuses more on the early modern aspects of the Renaissance and argues that it was a break from the past, but many historians today focus more on its medieval aspects and argue that it was an extension of the middle ages.

Like the 19th-century academic models from which it derives inspiration, the movement has drawn criticism for the premium placed upon technical performance, a tendency toward contrived and idealized depictions of the figure, and rhetorical overstatement when applied to epic narrative. [6] Maureen Mullarkey of the New York Sun referred to the school as "a contemporary style with retro appeal—like Chrysler's PT Cruiser". [8]

Schools

The Classical Realist movement is currently sustained through art schools based on the Atelier Method. Many present-day academies and ateliers follow the Charles Bargue drawing course. Richard Lack is generally regarded as the founder of the contemporary atelier movement. His school, Atelier Lack, was founded in 1969 and became a model for similar schools. [9] These modern ateliers are founded with the goal of revitalizing art education by reintroducing rigorous training in traditional drawing and painting techniques, employing teaching methodologies that were used in the École des Beaux-Arts. These schools pass on a method of instruction which melds formal academic art training with the influence of the French Impressionists.

Under the atelier model, art students study in the studio of an established master to learn how to draw and paint with realistic accuracy and an emphasis on rendering form convincingly. The foundation of these programs rests on an intensive study of the human figure, renderings of plaster casts of classical sculpture, and the emulation of their instructors. The goal is to make students adept at observation, theory, and craft while absorbing classical ideals of beauty. [9]

Atelier schools

Atelier schools founded in this tradition include (in chronological order of founding):

Notable artists

Related Research Articles

Academic art style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies of art

Academic art, or academicism or academism, is a style of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced under the influence of European academies of art. Specifically, academic art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, which was practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism, and the art that followed these two movements in the attempt to synthesize both of their styles, and which is best reflected by the paintings of William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Thomas Couture, and Hans Makart. In this context it is often called "academism", "academicism", "art pompier" (pejoratively), and "eclecticism", and sometimes linked with "historicism" and "syncretism".

Gabriel Laderman was a New York painter and an early and important exponent of the Figurative revival of the 1950s and '60s.

Modern Greek art

Modern Greek art is art from the period between the emergence of the new independent Greek state and the 20th century. As Mainland Greece was under Ottoman rule for all four centuries, it was not a part of the Renaissance and artistic movements that followed in Western Europe. However, Greek islands such as Crete, and the Ionian islands in particular were for large periods under Venetian or other European powers' rule and thus were able to better assimilate the radical artistic changes that were occurring in Europe during the 14th-18th century. The Cretan School and in particular the Heptanese School of art are two typical examples of artistic movements in Greece that followed parallel routes to Western Europe. As such, there were different artistic trends in the emerging Greek society. Modern Greek art can be said to have been predominantly shaped by the particular socioeconomic conditions of Greece, the large Greek diaspora across Europe, and the new Greek social elite, as well as external artistic influences, predominantly from Germany and France.

Atelier artists workshop

An atelier is the private workshop or studio of a professional artist in the fine or decorative arts, where a principal master and a number of assistants, students, and apprentices can work together producing pieces of fine art or visual art released under the master's name or supervision.

Charles H. Cecil Studios

The Charles H. Cecil Studios is a private atelier in Florence, Italy. It is run by American painter and art historian Charles H. Cecil, who was trained by R. H. Ives Gammell. It offers training in classical techniques of drawing and oil painting. Charles H. Cecil Studios occupies the most historic Florentine atelier still in active use.

Robert Beverly Hale was an artist, curator of American paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and instructor of artistic anatomy at the Art Students League of New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. He was also the author of the well-known book Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters, as well as the translator of the classic anatomy text Artistic Anatomy by Dr. Paul Richer.

Jacob Collins American painter

Jacob Collins is an American realist painter working in New York City. He is a leading figure of the contemporary classical art revival.

H. Snowden Hodges is a working artist and college professor in Honolulu, Hawaii. He paints and draws in the contemporary realist style. Hodges has an extensive exhibition record in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has lived in Honolulu, Hawaii since 1978.

Realism (arts) artistic style of representing subjects realistically

Realism, sometimes called naturalism, in the arts is generally the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality and avoiding artistic conventions, or implausible, exotic, and supernatural elements. Realism has been prevalent in the arts at many periods, and can be in large part a matter of technique and training, and the avoidance of stylization.

Graydon Parrish American painter

Graydon Parrish is a realist painter living in Austin, Texas. He is both trained in and an exponent of the atelier method which emphasizes classical painting techniques.

Boston School (painting) American group of artists

The Boston School was a group of Boston-based painters active in the first three decades of the twentieth century. Often classified as American Impressionists, they had their own regional style, combining the painterliness of Impressionism with a more conservative approach to figure painting and a marked respect for the traditions of Western art history. Their preferred subject matter was genteel: portraits, picturesque landscapes, and young women posing in well-appointed interiors. Major influences included John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet, and Jan Vermeer. Key figures in the Boston School were Edmund C. Tarbell, Frank Weston Benson, and William McGregor Paxton, all of whom trained in Paris at the Académie Julian and later taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Their influence can still be seen in the work of some contemporary Boston-area artists.

The contemporary realism movement is a North American style of painting which came into existence c. 1960s and early 1970s. Featuring a straightforward approach to representation practiced by artists such as Philip Pearlstein, Alex Katz, Jack Beal and Neil Welliver. The movement refers to figurative art works created in a natural yet highly objective style. Today the term Contemporary Realism encompasses all post-1970 sculptors and painters whose discipline is representational art, where the object is to portray the "real" and not the "ideal".

Lyndall Bass American realist painter

Lyndall Bass is an American realist painter and teacher who primarily paints still lifes, flower paintings and symbolist figure paintings. She lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the designer of the 2010 penny known as the Union Shield Penny.

Peter Seitz Adams is an American artist whose body of work focuses on landscapes and seascapes created en plein air in oil or pastel as well as enigmatic figure and still-life paintings. He is noted for his colorful, high-key palette and broad brushwork. Adams has held numerous solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums, including throughout California, the Western United States, and on the East Coast in Philadelphia, Vermont, and New York. Adams is the longest serving President of the California Art Club and has served on its board of directors in Pasadena, California from 1993 to 2018. He is also a writer on subjects relating to historic artists for the California Art Club Newsletter, as well as for a number of the organization's exhibition catalogs.

Bill Martin (artist) American painter

Bill Martin was a realist and visionary artist. "Bill Martin's images possess an inexplicable compelling power," wrote Walter Hopps, the Smithsonian Institution's Curator of the 20th Century American Art Collection.

Patricia Watwood is an American figurative painter living in Brooklyn, NY.

Realism (art movement) French painting movement

Realism was an artistic movement that emerged in France in the 1840s, around the 1848 Revolution. Realists rejected Romanticism, which had dominated French literature and art since the early 19th century. Realism revolted against the exotic subject matter and the exaggerated emotionalism and drama of the Romantic movement. Instead, it sought to portray real and typical contemporary people and situations with truth and accuracy, and not avoiding unpleasant or sordid aspects of life. The movement aimed to focus on unidealized subjects and events that were previously rejected in art work. Realist works depicted people of all classes in situations that arise in ordinary life, and often reflected the changes brought by the Industrial and Commercial Revolutions. Realism was primarily concerned with how things appeared to the eye, rather than containing ideal representations of the world. The popularity of such "realistic" works grew with the introduction of photography—a new visual source that created a desire for people to produce representations which look objectively real.

References

  1. S. Birch, The Educational Times. Vol. 35, No. 249, January 1, 1882, page 294.
  2. Mahler, Arthur; Blacker; Carlos; Slater, William Albert. Paintings of the Louvre, Italian and Spanish, Doubleday, 1905, page 26.
  3. Jacobs, Ted Seth. Light for the Artist, Watson-Guptill Pubns (June 1988), ISBN   0-8230-2768-6.
  4. Ryder, Anthony. The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Perspective on the Classical Tradition, Watson-Guptill; 1st edition (June 1, 1999), ISBN   0-8230-0303-5.
  5. Gjertson, Stephen. Richard F. Lack: An American Master, American Society of Classical Realism: 2001, ISBN   0-9636180-3-2.
  6. 1 2 Panero, James (September 2006). "The New Old School". The New Criterion . Vol. 25. p. 104.
  7. Kimball, Roger: "Why the Art World Is a Disaster", The New Criterion, Volume 25, June 2007, page 4.
  8. Maureen Mullarkey (October 12, 2006). "Nothing Left To Hide". New York Sun . Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  9. 1 2 Aristedes, Juliette. Classical Drawing Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice, Watson-Guptill Publications: 2006. ISBN   0-8230-0657-3