For this week's discussion, choose realism or impressionism as a basis for your posts and discuss how your choice is manifested in any area of the humanities (i.e., painting, sculpture, literature, music, etc.), and give an example from any discipline in the humanities to illustrate how realism or impressionism influenced the work of art. Please be sure to give an analysis of how the work of art was influenced by the movement
Thank you, Melissa Gilliland
I found your post to be very educational and good at explaining what realism is. I find it interesting how it was utilized for all areas of humanities. Realism in art and literature refers to the attempt to represent familiar and everyday people and situations in an accurate, non idealized manner. More specifically, the term "realism" refers to a literary and artistic movement of the late 1800's and early 1900's. This movement was a reaction against romanticism. Romanticism was an earlier movement that presented the world in much more idealized terms. I have heard of the Book Uncle Tom's Cabin but have not taken the time to read. There are other realist writers whom I have taken the time to read. Henry James "The Portrait of a Lady" and Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace", both were great reads places a strong emphasis on the truthful representation of the actual in fiction. Great post! I will find time to read Uncle Tom's Cabin.
        • Hey Dana,

          Thanks for such a wonderful post concerning realism and in explaining what it is exactly. This is so familiar in our cases as realism in a concept used in art to represent the everyday people and lives. The writers as an example help present the concept of reality in different dimensions. This is useful as it help the society keep track of the changes of the surrounding.

           Class, we are getting closer and closer to our own century--we have covered a lot of material in the last 4 weeks!

          In a thread concerning Realism and Impressionism, I think that it is important for us to begin by giving an overview of each style.

          Choose one of these styles and discuss the common characteristics associated with it. Or (if you are feeling ambitious!) discuss both of these styles and explain how they are different.

           Hi Professor and class,

          Realism in literature is a cultural and literary movement of the xix century in the novel has the primary focus of expressing with as much fidelity as possible reality without idealism. True stories are preferred, characters are credible and the environment is recreated with objectivity. The characteristics of literatures of that epoch are: analysis of social problems to understand human behavior depicting reality as it exists.  The description of the writer paints an informative value allowing us to comprehend the psychology of the characters. The realist authors do not exclude any topics included the daily living of the popular masses. Sayre described how Honore de Balzac “wrote of those he encountered in Paris streets” and how Charles Baudelaire made bourgeois hypocrisy his target.

          Literary impressionism is a style of writing that associates symbolism with contemplation of nature to express an inner feeling. But it was mostly in the arts that impressionism made its mark with artist like Monet, Renoir and Degas among other.



           According to Visions of America, the new realism was a result of industrialization. Factories replaced skilled workers, woman worked in factories for lower wages then men. Some woman turned to prostitution as a mean of income. The beginning of modern art started with Realism. Art described life’s unpleasant moments socially, economically and politically. Some of the important artist known for artist of realism is, Honore Daumier known for his painting Rue Transonain, Gustave Courbet known for A burial at Ornans, and my two favorite The Stone Breakers by Gustave Courbet and The Gleaners by Jean-Francois Millet. In the Gleaners, woman was allowed to comb the fields after the harvest. Hours of hard work, bending over for a small meal to take home to their families. The Stone Breakers shows two men, one old and one younger, working one of the hardest back breaking jobs known, collecting gravel for a stone road. Their clothes are dirty and hands are “working mans hands” callused and weathered. It hurts my heart to think of people starving and upper class “allows” them to earn the bare minim, just enough to stay alive.


          Sayre, H. M. (2013). Discovering the humanities (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

           In French art, the realist movement gained momentum from 1840 and the latter part of the 19th century. The idea of Realism is about portraying the reality of the modern world through artistic expression. The movement wanted to describe contemporary life as honest and impartial as possible. As mentioned by Finocchio (2004) “French society fought for democratic reform, the Realists democratized art by depicting modern subjects drawn from the everyday lives of the working class” (para 1).

          They no longer chose to accept the typical art (idealized classicism) portrayed during that time and their outlandish ideas depicted in (romanticism) (para 3). In the idealized classicism “Neoclassical style arose from such first-hand observation and reproduction of antique works and came to dominate European architecture, painting, sculpture, and decorative arts” (Finocchio, 2004, para 3).  The other type of art mentioned was the Romanticism of art which involves your emotion and imagination. As mentioned by Finocchio (2004) “Realism was based on direct observation of the modern world (para 4). The leading supporter of the movement is Gustave Courbet. The artist felt that “painting is an essentially concrete art and can only consist in the representation of real and existing things” (Finocchio, 2004, para 4). In keeping with that tradition, the realist often displayed an unidealistic version of the people of that time (para 4). As noted by Finocchio (2004) “The groundbreaking works that Courbet exhibited at the Paris Salons of 1849 and 1850–51—notably A Burial at Ornans (Musée d’Orsay, Paris) and The Stonebreakers (destroyed) (para 3). They "portrayed ordinary people from the artist’s native region on the monumental scale formerly reserved for the elevating themes of history painting” (Finocchio, 2004, para 3).


          Finocchio, R. (2004). “Nineteenth-Century French Realism.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/rlsm/hd_rlsm.htm

           Good Evening Professor and Class,

          The Realism movement started in the mid-late 19th century.  During this time period, artists were starting to depict paintings that reflected "real-life" events of daily living.  Artists started to move away from embellishing or romanticizing events to creating pieces of art that were realistic in nature.  Robert Koehler painted "The Strike" at a time when there was great political unrest in the United States.  Across the country, the unemployment rate was greater than 25 percent and widespread corruption contributed to the impoverished working class.  The average working class citizen had to endure long hours with little compensation. 

           In the painting, workers are shown demanding a decent salary for their work.  In the painting, you can see the anger on the faces of the workers.  Also, you can see the worried look on the man standing behind the owner.  In the bottom left side of the painting, a poor woman standing with her children with a concerned look on her face.  In the center of the painting, there is a middle-classed woman trying to reason with one of the workers.  According to Sayre (2012) "Koehler's realism is evident in the diversity of his figures, each possessing an individual identity" (p. 428).


          Sayre, H. M. (08/2012). Discovering the Humanities, 2/e VitalSource for DeVry University. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781256884774/ Links to an external site.

          Image retrieved from https://www.google.com/search?q=Koehler%27s+realism&safe=activeLinks to an external site.

           Thank you


          Professor & Class,

          The drastic social changes resulting from the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution opened the door to a more modern art form known as realism. This concept of realism began to be reflected in all areas of the humanities such as paintings, sculptures, literature, music, and photography. Our text defines literary realism as “the depiction of contemporary life emphasizing fidelity to everyday experience and the facts and conditions of life” (Sayre, 2012, p. 437).  In other words, these art forms portrayed the social, financial, political, and cultural aspects of real life events with no filters which was not always a pretty site. Realist writers were known for describing life meticulously and methodically in a way that was unbiased and straight forward. An example of literature that illustrated how realism influenced the work of art was the novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. This book explicates the divergent destinies of three slaves known as Tom, Eliza, and George. It was considered the most influential abolitionist tract of the day and sold 300,000 copies within the first year of its publication (Sayre, 2012). According to Sayre (2012), “Stowe’s depiction of the plight of slaves like Tom roused anti-slavery sentiment worldwide and eventually became the best-selling novel of the nineteenth century” (p. 413). The abolitionist movement largely inspired the American realist writers who were already troubled by the problem of slavery (Sayre, 2012).



          Sayre, H. M. (08/2012). Discovering the Humanities, 2nd Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781256884774/Links to an external site.Hello Barbara,

        Great post! I enjoyed your explanation of realism. I really enjoyed reading about the realists and their work, as it is full of detail and really brought their work to life to make it feel as though I was experiencing what they did. Balzac also wrote, "I could espouse their lives. I felt their rags on my back. I walked with my feet in their tattered shoes; their desires, their wants—everything passed into my soul” (Sayre 2013, p. 412). I also like how his work was created through direct observation. I do like to use my imagination at times when it comes to artwork and reading stories, but I also thoroughly enjoy stories based on real life events. I think this is why I was drawn more to the realists point of views, even thought the impressionists created some beautiful works of art as well. Thank you again for your post.

        Tiffany Mathews


        Sayre, H. M. (2013). Discovering the humanities (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

        Hi Barbara,

         What a great post. You have some excellent point here. The way you have introduced an economic concept in this discussion about realism is splendid. Realism is such a practical form of art that few of the archives that I went through to study realism look no more like art but like photographs. It is actually in stark contrast to Romaticism. 

         Hello Barbara, 

        I enjoyed your post. I think that true stories are preferred. "An autobiography is the author's own account of details of his or her life". Stories reflecting one's life or now days documentaries.  "Readers tend to be more interested in autobiographical works that tell them something about the writer that they would not learn from any other source"(CU 2018). Realism is a movement in art whose purpose was to end the romanticism used in literary works. Novels were once only filled with fiction and imagination. Truthful publications were introduced during the era of realism.   


        Chamberlain University. (2018.) HUMN 303. Week 5 lesson. Tinley Park, IL: Online Publication

         Hey Barbara,

        I enjoyed your post. I think most of us chose to talk about paintings but looking at realism and impressionism in writing is very interesting. Realistic writers really wants us to experience what they are writing. They want us not only to imagine what they are saying but they want us to feel it. Although I love reading fiction novels, I also enjoy reading true stories. I love feeling like I experienced what the author is trying to portray.

         Sayre, H. (2013) Discovering the Humanities 2nd Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson

        Realism influenced many aspects of the arts, for example there are many paintings of realism which take the aspects of life and put them into a painting. Mainly the common man was the aspect of the paintings, showing what life was really like, They weren't glorified or represented as a hero, they were shown with emotion realistic representation. For example a realism painting could show a person working in the mills or fields, just a plain painting showing them working, nothing else to glorify the painting to make it pop.


        Wow your most was so informative! I never thought to look at the new realism as a result of the industrialization. But you make some really good points.  With the industrialization it did bring the economy to a whole new level. As you stated, women were put in new roles where they actually had responsibilities outside of being a housewife. The painting you described "The Stone Breakers", sounds like the perfect description of how people were living in that time.  I couldn't imagine being a person in the upper class living in a very spoiled environment knowing that so many people were working so hard just trying to make ends meet.  I find that many paintings during this era did a really good job describing the harsh environments and times some people were going through.  Very nice post.


         Hi Charlotte Francis,

        You are right. Art described life’s unpleasant moments socially, economically and politically.     Realism is what we see, Impressionism is how we see. To compare some of the artwork between the movements, Realism had the gritty artwork, showing this rough style of life, while Impression had a calmer side to it. Realism included detail upon every character, landscape, object, etc. The Impression had a little detailed involved with some of the things involved in the image, it was more interested in using colors to show the mechanical side of the human eye and the way it sees. The differences can be seen in some of the works like Courbet’s stone breakers compared to Monet’s Haystacks. Great post. Thank you for sharing.



        Courbet, The Stonebreakers (2018). Retrieved from https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/becoming-modern/avant-garde-france/realism/a/courbet-the-stonebreakersLinks to an external site.

        Haystacks (Effect of Snow and Sun),2018, Retrieved on 2/3/2018 from https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/29.100.109/Links to an external site.


        I really enjoyed reading your post! Very informative and interesting points that you make. I guess I never really thought about how modern art started, but as I think of realism art most of it does represent a lot of unpleasant moments. I assume this was their only way of expression toward what was taking place. It is very unfortunate though that these things as you mentioned in your post were taking place as a result of industrialization.

         Hi Jean,

        This is a beautiful post. Realism is indeed a rejection of romanticism with its “emotion and imagination”. Realism depicts reality as observed. The realist movement is expressed in arts and literature.



        Your post was so interesting. I learned so much from this discussion. I found it very interesting that this actual painting was created during the period in which the US was falling into some hard times. I have to say after researching this era of paintings I feel that I enjoy it more and am more able to relate to it. This particular painting specifically I feel portrays real life American life for some on a daily basis. Koehler did a great job creating this painting and making it appear very realistic. I personally, feel this is one painting that I can fully relate to. Great job!

        Hello Jayanthi, 

      Great post. You did an excellent job describing this painting. Robert Koehler's painting, titled The Strike, depicts the working class demanding a decent salary very well. I agree that the painting does reflect the anger and concerns of the people. He did an excellent job painting the expressions on their faces. Thank you for your post. It was very informational. 

      Melissa Gilliland Great post Jayanthi! You included a wonderful work of art that depicted realism very clearly. I personally enjoy realism over fiction. Realism represents history in a greater form, entailing accuracy. The child's face in the painting tells a story itself. I am glad Robert Koehler painted that little girl because during a strike and unemployment periods it is not only the workers that are affected. Koehler also included the business owners which is important as well. 

     Realism portrays the working class and other people in ordinary, everyday life. The realists did not agree with Romanticism. They did not want to glorify the paintings or writings. They wanted to depict what was happening at the time. Impressionism with art was painted with no direct lines or curves. The art was painted with brush strokes and colors that were mixed. The colors simulated reflected light. Monet is an example of an artist who used impressionism. In literature, reality was clouded. It is left to ones’ perception. I chose realism. As a result of industrialization, people were unskilled and had to work for less pay in factories. They were unable to be self-employed. Some women were exploited by their supervisors and some even turned to prostitution. They worked for little pay. Writers began writing about working class. Eugene Delacroix, painted scenes from the Massacres at Chios. Gustave Courbet was one of the artists who painted what he witnessed in everyday life. Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres painted La Grande Odalisque, which was a painting of a woman that was very realistic. Charles Dickens wrote novels that revealed the inequalities of the English lower class. He was sympathetic in his writing. Fredrick Douglass, who was a slave, wrote about the abuse that slaves endured, which he witnessed first-hand. I find reading and viewing paintings that portrayed real life interesting. It represents the time period realistic and does not cloud the truth.

    Melissa Gilliland

    Sayre, H. M. (2013). Discovering the Humanities (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

    https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=la+grande+odalisque&FORM=IARRTH&ufn=grande+odalisque&stid=89a5bed6-f19b-c0d8-d186-7b12dff234d3&cbn=EntityAnswer&cbi=0&FORM=IARRTHLinks to an external site.

    https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Gustave+Courbet+Paintings&FORM=RESTABLinks to an external site.


    Melissa, I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for including the photographs as well. The difference between realism and impressionism is great. I feel like even the brush strokes of realism are more crisp and true. I do enjoy impressionism for possible home decor. It is whimsical and light at heart. I am however glad that there is realism present in art because it is necessary for history to be displayed as real as possible. 

     Hello Professor Ford and Class,
    Professor and Class,

    Impressionism was a depiction of modern life. This type of art looked as if it was unfinished and sketch like to some. Claude Monet's Sunrise used short brush strokes that were broken, not finishing forms with the use of colors that were blended. The light was also emphasized, such as the use of shadows and highlights of colors. This gave a look of spontaneity or an effortless look. Use of colors such as bright colors of green, blue or yellows was used. Suburban and rural landscapes were popular especially that of Paris with the modernization including the paintings of factories and railroads(Samu,2000). In Claude Monet's Sunrise, it represented a snapshot in time or in the present. His use of colors such as that of orange swirling on the water to represent the reflection of the rising sun. He used dark blue to represent boat forms and light blue to represent trees in the distance. It appears to be very simplistic with not a lot of detail as if he was in a hurry to finish it. This may have been done to keep up with the ever-changing scene. Haziness in the background and the feeling of the boats being moved in the water was represented by the colors that were used (Sayre,2013 pg.423).

     Jill Robbins

     Samu, Margaret. “Impressionism: Art and Modernity.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/imml/hd_imml.htm (October 2004)

    1. Sayre, H. (2013) Discovering the Humanities 2nd Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson

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