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    Thank you for your interesting post. Please don't take my reply as anything more than my interpretation. I have read quite a lot of books on art - and philosophy is helpful too - but don't have any more than a GCSE in Art itself. I know I am going off topic in trying to answer the question.

    Paintings throughout the centuries could be said to be of a photorealistic nature due to the patient skill of the artist. Traditionally, these would be posed portraits, landscapes or still lifes.

    In the second half of the 19th century, impressionism captured the private lives of subjects that would not traditionally have been regarded as a fitting, or simply a considered, subject matter for art. Although this was partly a matter of social class, it was also a matter of the uncomfortable collision between classicised sexuality and realistic sexuality (e.g. Manet's Olympia). It is easy to imagine that the invention of the camera made what is instantly there more fashionable than what was imagined (the classical).

    Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, labelled 'pointilism' because of the small dots of paint used to create an impression, also blends the boundaries between social classes, between leisure and work, formality and play. But it isn't sensationalist in a deliberately provocative way- the composition itself is quite rigidly structured. This is something that photography doesn't always have the luxury or desire to have but Seurat's paintings could be seen as a kind of precursor of the later photorealism.

    But the photorealism of the 1960s was an offshoot of something else - Pop Art. Pop Art such as Andy Warhol's covered reproduction of photo-like images, of both the 'extraordinary' i.e. celebrities and what many would have seen as the mundane e.g a Campbells soup tin. The reproduction was not necessarily perfect, or even intended to be as close to perfection as possible. (nb. It could be argued that, with Dada, Marcel Duchamp invented the art form that later turned in to Pop Art (at least the first who became famous for doing something similar). However, he came to Dada via surrealism).

    Photorealism symbolised a movement that I think could be said to be mirrored in the architecture of the late 1960s through to mid 1970s as well. It followed a strict rule of functional order, arguably removed of the fun element of its originator, Pop Art. But this order couldn't be called classical either. Classical architecture may have liked order and not too fussy a decoration but it certainly never wanted to dispense fully with decoration. There is no relatively little decoration in the technique of photorealism even if there happens to be in the subject matter itself.

    Photorealism could be described as a desire to 'keep it real'. It happened to come after the end of the summer of love (1967), the quite surreal Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band album (Magical Mystery Tour the following year was actually more surreal) and 1967 was also the year of Rene Magritte's death. 'Old school' surrealism was over, perhaps regarded as far removed from modern society.

    In the 1980s, airbrushing seemed particularly fashionable, not just in graffiti art but in general advertising. It seemed to bridge a Pop Art comic book type nature with a photorealistic kind of feel. That was very 1980s - mixing fantasy with hard nosed practicalism.

    Come the 1990s, that probably seemed cliched to the art world. Pop Art or Dadaism of various kinds became especially fashionable again e.g. Damien Hirst.

    Now it seems that those who care most about looking photorealistic are creators of Xbox360 and PS3 videogames. But some more stylised games (that may be partially realistic looking) are arguably more timeless looking.

    Artists who have mimicked photographs show that great skill, time and patience can create what a photograph can. In that sense it shows that the human mind can be trained like a machine. But it also shows the opposite- the implication is that a camera would not itself have been able to come up with the concept that the artist may have or to choose which subtle quirks to incorporate in to the image. As technology has become more and more advanced, photorealism in art may be regarded as less innovative than its roots may suggest.
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    (Original post by Picnic1)
    Thank you for your interesting post. Please don't take my reply as anything more than my interpretation. I have read quite a lot of books on art - and philosophy is helpful too - but don't have any more than a GCSE in Art itself. I know I am going off topic in trying to answer the question.

    Paintings throughout the centuries could be said to be of a photorealistic nature due to the patient skill of the artist. Traditionally, these would be posed portraits, landscapes or still lifes.

    In the second half of the 19th century, impressionism captured the private lives of subjects that would not traditionally have been regarded as a fitting, or simply a considered, subject matter for art. Although this was partly a matter of social class, it was also a matter of the uncomfortable collision between classicised sexuality and realistic sexuality (e.g. Manet's Olympia). It is easy to imagine that the invention of the camera made what is instantly there more fashionable than what was imagined (the classical).

    Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, labelled 'pointilism' because of the small dots of paint used to create an impression, also blends the boundaries between social classes, between leisure and work, formality and play. But it isn't sensationalist in a deliberately provocative way- the composition itself is quite rigidly structured. This is something that photography doesn't always have the luxury or desire to have but Seurat's paintings could be seen as a kind of precursor of the later photorealism.

    But the photorealism of the 1960s was an offshoot of something else - Pop Art. Pop Art such as Andy Warhol's covered reproduction of photo-like images, of both the 'extraordinary' i.e. celebrities and what many would have seen as the mundane e.g a Campbells soup tin. The reproduction was not necessarily perfect, or even intended to be as close to perfection as possible. (nb. It could be argued that, with Dada, Marcel Duchamp invented the art form that later turned in to Pop Art (at least the first who became famous for doing something similar). However, he came to Dada via surrealism).

    Photorealism symbolised a movement that I think could be said to be mirrored in the architecture of the late 1960s through to mid 1970s as well. It followed a strict rule of functional order, arguably removed of the fun element of its originator, Pop Art. But this order couldn't be called classical either. Classical architecture may have liked order and not too fussy a decoration but it certainly never wanted to dispense fully with decoration. There is no relatively little decoration in the technique of photorealism even if there happens to be in the subject matter itself.

    Photorealism could be described as a desire to 'keep it real'. It happened to come after the end of the summer of love (1967), the quite surreal Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band album (Magical Mystery Tour the following year was actually more surreal) and 1967 was also the year of Rene Magritte's death. 'Old school' surrealism was over, perhaps regarded as far removed from modern society.

    In the 1980s, airbrushing seemed particularly fashionable, not just in graffiti art but in general advertising. It seemed to bridge a Pop Art comic book type nature with a photorealistic kind of feel. That was very 1980s - mixing fantasy with hard nosed practicalism.

    Come the 1990s, that probably seemed cliched to the art world. Pop Art or Dadaism of various kinds became especially fashionable again e.g. Damien Hirst.

    Now it seems that those who care most about looking photorealistic are creators of Xbox360 and PS3 videogames. But some more stylised games (that may be partially realistic looking) are arguably more timeless looking.

    Artists who have mimicked photographs show that great skill, time and patience can create what a photograph can. In that sense it shows that the human mind can be trained like a machine. But it also shows the opposite- the implication is that a camera would not itself have been able to come up with the concept that the artist may have or to choose which subtle quirks to incorporate in to the image. As technology has become more and more advanced, photorealism in art may be regarded as less innovative than its roots may suggest.
    By far the best post i've read in a good while. Very good points raised here. Especially on the video games front. Art isn't really cool anymore so to speak. When most people go to art galleries they just think, "boring." It's not. It literally is an art that should be loved and cherished. Very few "proper" artists left now. Its all gone to this BritArt **** stuff now.
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    (Original post by Oh_Mighty_One)
    By far the best post i've read in a good while. Very good points raised here. Especially on the video games front. Art isn't really cool anymore so to speak. When most people go to art galleries they just think, "boring." It's not. It literally is an art that should be loved and cherished. Very few "proper" artists left now. Its all gone to this BritArt sh*te stuff now.
    Thank you- it means a lot. The Student Room is one of the few places I've found that you can talk about any topic in any way you want. I've spent too long in chat rooms getting frustrated at the seemingly complete lack of depth, or relevancy, to the discussion.

    Regarding Brit Art- I hate Tracey Emin's work. But I think Damien Hirst is clever in being like the new Andy Warhol in a way. But some of the older painters like Francis Bacon or Lucien Freud were more truly 'cool', to use a quick description, than many of the Brit Pop artists.
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    Art has never been the same since they invented painting by numbers and began creating sculptures out of turds.
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    An Aristotle quotation should clarify the role of art, or rather the artist: 'the function of the poet is not to say what has happened, but to say the kind of thing that would happen, i.e. what is possible in accordance with probability or necessity'. I think, then, that there are two problems in this thread: one, a misconception regarding the role of realism in classic and neo-classic art, which I view largely from a literary perspective and, two, a misconception of mode; photography is not competing against art, but rather different modes are used in particular ways by artists. For example, Wassily Kandinsky's abstract paintings are not really that different from Fyodor Dostoevsky's nineteenth century fiction; some modes are more accessible than others – music is the most accessible in my opinion, while poetry is the hardest because it is intrinsically metaphoric.

    If you want to look at the ultimate merger between art and reality then I advise researching Aristotle and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who both had a ridiculous influence on drama, poetry, music, philosophy and science.

    The problem with modern art is multi-faceted, involving artists themselves, the development of new modes and the development of society, which, I think, can be summarised by Theodore Adorno's famous dictum: 'writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric'. I think, then, that the biggest problem is the artist. However, I do think he will recover and become prophetic again.
 
 
 
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