About photorealism

“As a full-fledged art movement, Photorealism evolved from Pop Art and as a counter to Abstract Expressionism as well as Minimalist art movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States. Photorealists use a photograph or several photographs to gather the information to create their paintings.” From Wikipedia

The works of photorealists have always fascinated me. Is it the admiration of the capability to meticulously imitate (duplicate?) the real world, or the possibility to be able to immerse myself into the details of the often very large paintings? Probably both.

Here are some samples of some well-known photorealist artists. I took the pictures last year in Kumu, Modern Art Museum of Estonia.

To start with, the works invite spectators to stop for a longer time to study the details.

The details are sometimes confusingly elaborate and vivid. Here is an example from Bertnard Meniel.


Details from the left and right side of the street.


In the works of Tom Blackwell it’s amazing how the sheen of the chrome is so real from the distance but when you have a closer look, it is just stokes of oil paint.


Chuck Close has drawn his self-portrait with small squares filled with varying number of pencil strokes. Impressive result.


The last example are works of Roberto Bernardi. Even looking very closely the reflection of the glass is very natural, very hyper-realistic, like the candies in the first painting.


Finally, a good summary of the “isms” of the art during the last 50 years “From Photorealism to Funism (1960’s-present)” is here. You might like to have a look at this “Important Art and Artists of Photorealism” as well.

About Olli Laasanen

Eyes and ears open. New and old. Jobs and hobbies. Pictures and music. Entertaining and serious. Change and stability. Nature and urban.
This entry was posted in Artsy, Photo, photography, Valokuvaus and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to About photorealism

  1. Rigby says:

    Yes, they have clever technique, but there’s more to art than content. Art also has to have a subject – what it is about? Why did the artist paint this scene? In what way has he taken the objects and made something personal of them that enhances our understanding or appreciation of the world? There seems to be little thought given to composition. Compared to the Dutch/Flemish still life painters of the 1600s who had no photographs to copy, but had to paint the dead hare or fruit before they rotted, they have it easy. I prefer your photos, Olli.

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