Art Principles and History

Form and Style

What is the difference between naturalism and realism?

Naturalism, sometimes confused with realism, is a mode in which an artist attempts to objectively represent the natural world. Artists interested in naturalism spend a great deal of time looking and thinking about the observable qualities of the visual world. While the term realism is sometimes used interchangeably with naturalism, and also refers to art that accurately depicts the visible world, the term is slightly broader, encompassing the sometimes harsh reality of everyday life. Realism (with a capital “R”) also refers to a series of different art movements including the nineteenth-century Realist movement in France, as well as Soviet-era Socialist Realism.


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