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Social realism

Related: everyday life - art and politics - resistance - revolution - social - realism - Gustave Courbet - visual arts - working class

The Stone Breakers (1850) - Gustave Courbet

Courbet depicted the harshness in life, and in so doing, challenged contemporary academic ideas of art, which brought him criticism that he deliberately adopted a cult of ugliness. [Apr 2006]

The Absinthe Drinker (1876) - Edgar Degas

Contrast: art for art's sake

In 19th century France “Millet, Daumier and Courbet were politically motivated and set about attacking social order through their art” [Apr 2006]

Pablo Picasso's Guernica is at once the most monumental and comprehensive statement of social realism and a dramatic manifesto against the brutality of war.

France mid-19th century

Social Realism developed as a reaction against idealism and the exaggerated ego encouraged by Romanticism. Consequences of the Industrial Revolution became apparent; urban centers grew, slums proliferated on a new scale contrasting with the display of wealth of the upper classes. With a new sense of social consciousness, the Social Realists pledged to “fight the beautiful art”, any style which appealed to the eye or emotions. They focused on the ugly realities of contemporary life and sympathized with working-class people, particularly the poor. They recorded what they saw (“as it existed”) in a dispassionate manner. The public was outraged by Social Realism, in part, because they didn't know how to look at it or what to do with it (George Shi, University of Fine Arts, Valencia). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_realism [Apr 2006]

Russia early 20th century

Social Realism is an artistic movement, expressed in the visual and other realist arts, which depicts working class activities as heroic. Many artists who subscribed to Social Realism were painters with socialist (but not necessarily Marxist) political views. The movement therefore has some commonalities with the Socialist Realism used in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, but the two are not identical - Social Realism is not an official art, and allows space for subjectivity. In certain contexts, Socialist Realism has been described as a specific branch of Social Realism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_realism [Apr 2006]

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