Simple realistic art
November 12, 2007 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Which artists have depicted simple, realistic scenes of humans performing activities of daily life?

I'm looking for artwork which you can take one look at, and know what's going on. Nothing abstract. And the subject matter should be people doing things that people do, e.g. having a picnic, sitting around watching TV, relaxing at the beach, etc.
posted by tabulem to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Jan Steen
posted by charlesv at 9:14 AM on November 12, 2007

Sounds like Norman Rockwell.
posted by demiurge at 9:16 AM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Edward Hopper was the first artist that sprung to mind.
posted by afx237vi at 9:16 AM on November 12, 2007

posted by R. Mutt at 9:18 AM on November 12, 2007

posted by thinkingwoman at 9:19 AM on November 12, 2007

But perhaps this more an illustration question, rather than an art question?
posted by R. Mutt at 9:20 AM on November 12, 2007

Some of Brueghel.
posted by frobozz at 9:21 AM on November 12, 2007

Lowry comes to mind.
posted by freston at 9:25 AM on November 12, 2007

How about film stills?

Jim Jarmusch comes to mind.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:37 AM on November 12, 2007

Winslow Homer
posted by emelenjr at 9:47 AM on November 12, 2007

Are you looking for modern scenes, or from different time periods?
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:50 AM on November 12, 2007

What you're looking for is called Genre Painting. It was particularly popular during the early 19th century for a variety of reasons (rise of the middle class, Barbizon school, increasing interest in realism) but it had long roots and continues in some form or another even today, although nowadays pure genre tends to get a little subsumed by pop imagery. For 20th century American genre painters, try Grant Wood or the Ashcan school. Is there contemporary genre painting going on? Opinions are kind of mixed. I think you could count Alex Katz as a contemporary genre artist, maybe, or David Hockney, even if they're not doing comfortable brown interiors with a table and a peasant by the fire.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:17 AM on November 12, 2007 [2 favorites]

Mary Cassatt specialized in quotidian scenes of childrearing -- a mother bathing her daughter, a wide-awake toddler in bed with her still-sleepy mom in the morning, etc.
posted by ROTFL at 10:36 AM on November 12, 2007

Thanks for the very helpful suggestions so far. I am particularly interested in modern scenes, and yes, I think I would be even more interested in illustrators than painters, because I am looking for really visually simple works.

Of the artists mentioned above, Norman Rockwell is probably closest to what I'm looking for. Who else does work in a similar vein?
posted by tabulem at 10:37 AM on November 12, 2007

IANAexpert, but I believe the Dutch have a particular tradition of this kind of thing, as you can see from some of the artist names above.
posted by JimN2TAW at 10:40 AM on November 12, 2007

Vincent Van Gogh, but it's not modern.
posted by wsg at 10:43 AM on November 12, 2007

Dorothea Lange

"Ordinary" has many different meanings for different people. Do you mean "ordinary middle class?"
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:28 AM on November 12, 2007

Duane Hanson Does exactly that but in sculpture form. The results are completely freaky.
posted by Mr. Ugh at 11:32 AM on November 12, 2007

Monet has some
Diego Rivera

vintage magazine illustrations:
covers of Good Housekeeping; Jessie Wilcox-Smith
covers of Redbook

and children's book illustrators might be a good category to look in (depending what you want this for)
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:09 PM on November 12, 2007

Gustave Courbet's The Stone Breakers is a famous example of realism. There are many other realist painters listed on this wikipedia page.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 5:24 PM on November 12, 2007

Mary Cassat
posted by nax at 5:21 PM on November 13, 2007

« Older Origins of the names in Hitler's cabinet   |   identify song Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.