There seems to be an emphasis today on “Realistic” artwork and there are some absolutely outstanding artists whose works in truth cannot be distinguished from a photograph.  The ability to re-create an image in spite of what some artists may feel, takes a great deal of talent in the forms of being able to really “see” what you are creating, your hand-to-eye-coordination and the skill to work with light and shadow in a way that for the most part can only be captured by a camera (unless of course – you have these abilities).  Being a self-taught artist, I draw/paint what I like and not what others think I should do but I am very detail-minded so I like to create art that moves in the direction of being very realistic and although not always as successful as I’d like, I am learning to hone my skills.  Out of curiousity, and the fact that I have never had any art history training, I went to one of my favorite sources, Wikipedia for some insight.  What I discovered, surprised me as the following will illustrate that the description of  “realism” in art history is very different from what we think of today as the paintings of that era still looked like paintings as realistic as they were.   It would seem that Realism or Naturalism was more importantly considered the depiction of ordinary, everyday subjects.

Realism in the arts may be generally defined as the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality and avoiding artistic conventions, implausible, exotic and supernatural elements. The term originated in the 19th century, and was used to describe the work of Gustave Courbet and a group of painters who rejected idealization, focusing instead on everyday life.[1]

It sought to portray real and typical contemporary people and situations with truth and accuracy, and not avoiding unpleasant or sordid aspects of life. Realist works depicted people of all classes in situations that arise in ordinary life, and often reflected the changes wrought by the Industrial and Commercial Revolutions. 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.” 

So this last statement brings us to today, where artists are trying to recreate subject matter to the extent of being hyper-realistic.  Here are some examples of some incredible works of Hyper-realistic art from Bored Panda.


Pencil Drawing by Paul Cadden


Pencil Drawing by Diego Fazio


Acrylic Painting by Jason de Graaf


Oil Painting by Pedro Campos


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