Realism was a movement from the 1840’s to the 1880’s thatoriginated in France. It rejected traditional forms of art, literature, andsocial organization. Realism is often seen as the first modern art movement. Realismfocused on the beauty of everyday life (Campbell). It is consideredthe beginning of modern art for seeing these beauties as art.

Main artists ofthe realism movement include Jean-Francois Millet, Gustave Courbet, and JamesWhistler. Jean-Francois Millet is a renowned artist of the realismmovement. He was the oldest son of a family that came from a peasant community.He grew up in the village of Gruchy in Normandy. He was sent to Cherbourg tostudy with a painter that goes by the name of Paul Dumochel in 1833.

He startedhis career in Cherbourg after his first painting was accepted at the Salon of1840. He moved to Paris with his newlywed wife, Pauline-Virgine Ono, but soonmoved back to Cherbourg due to his wife’s death and rejections at the Salon of1843. He remarried to Catherine Lemaire in 1853 after they moved to Le Havretogether in 1845. According to his biography on, in Paris in themiddle of the 180’s he befriended many artists that were associated with theBarbizon school.

( “Gleaner” is a veryfamous painting of Millet’s (Unknown). It showed the waythat many people had to live back in that time.

Gustave Courbet was another well-known artist from therealism movement. He painted TheStonebreakers and A Burial atOrnans in his home village of Ornans. Ornans is found in theFrance-Comte region of France.

His painting YoungWomen from the Village created trouble in the Salon of 1852 (Galitz). Critics were goingto reproach Courbet for making the women “ugly” and the cattle were “proportionallytoo small” (Galitz). Critics were allover him on the connotative diction he used to describe his paintings. Courbetloved to hunt. He was successful in depicting hunting scenes. Some of hishunting paintings were the first paintings he displayed at the Salon of 1852. 


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