Naturalism

DEFINITION

A style of painting which uses an analysis of tone (value) and color of its subject, resulting in a representation of the appearance of forms or landscapes. Impressionism has naturalistic tendencies, because it analyzes tone and color in the play of light on surfaces. Naturalism can also have a sensual character (as against composition and drawing). The Impressionists were influenced by 19th century researches into the physics of color by Chevreul (a scientist) and others, which showed that an object casts a shadow which contains its complementary color (see complementary color). This theory eventually hardened into Neo-Impressionism, where Seurat and others sought the maximum optical truth about nature and the ideal composition and color relationships. This line of inquiry also led eventually to Post-Impressionism, where Gauguin and Van Gogh, among others, used color in a purely artistic and anti-naturalistic manner, which was non-intellectual. (Color used by Gauguin and Van Gogh is often deliberately independent of the local or light-influenced color of objects; and beyond that in the early 20th century, the Fauve painters used bright color and forms even more distant from their perceptual origins.)<br><br>A style in which an artist intends to represent a subject as it appears in the natural world ? precisely and objectivly ? as opposed to being represented in a stylized or intellectually manipulated manner. Although naturalism is often used interchangeably with the term realism, there is a difference between them. The realism of Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877) is more interested in the honest depiction of unpretentious subjects, while the naturalism of Ernest Meissonier (French, 1815-1891) is more a visually accurate depiction of subjects which in other hands might well have been depicted pretentiously.Examples of naturalism: Bartolome Esteban Murillo (Spanish, 1618-1682), The Young Beggar, c. 1650, oil on canvas, 1.34 x 1.00 m, Louvre.Jules Bastien-Lepage (French, 1848-1884), The Wood Gatherer, 1881, oil on canvas, Milwaukee Art Museum, WI. Emile Zola (1840-1902) described Bastien-Lepage&#39;s work as "Impressionism corrected, sweetened and adapted to the taste of the crowd." See Heidelberg school and Impressionism.

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