Contemporary Academic Realism


Contemporary paintings created in a realistic manner and using traditional techniques to illustrate subjects or scenes so accurately that they closely resemble the observed world. Painters working in this vein often undergo rigorous training in methods that date back centuries, including lessons in anatomy, figure drawing, composition, and techniques of oil paint. Since the 18th century, such techniques have historically been associated with art academies, the most famous of which is the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. The French Académie importantly established a set of acceptable genres in which artists could paint, namely history painting, portraiture, still-life, and landscape. With the rise of abstract art in the 20th century, realist painting ceased to be the dominant mode of art-making, being viewed as less progressive, or even retrograde. Yet such traditional methods have continued to have widespread appeal, and contemporary artists continue to use these more conventional techniques and genres in dynamic new ways.

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