Please enjoy this massive online trove of Classical Realist paintings

Gerald F. Metcalfe (1894-1929), Pan, Oil on canvas

My friend Rob Walker writes a great column every Friday on Yahoo Tech called The New Old Thing, which "tells you about what’s not-new—but still great and available to you right now thanks to the magic of technology." His latest column is about my recommendation, The Art Renewal Center.

The Art Renewal Center bills itself as “leading the revival of realism in the fine arts,” and it’s fair to say that founder Fred Ross has a passionate point of view about the value of realism and modernist efforts (in his view) to denigrate it.

“Before visiting for the first time (about 10 years ago),” Frauenfelder says, “I’d never heard of William Bouguereau, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, John William Waterhouse, Lord Frederic Leighton, Ernest Louis Meissonier, Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Frank Dicksee, James Joseph Tissot, or John William Godward.

“Looking at their work makes me feel like I’ve entered a secret museum that was closed off to the public for fear of a mass outbreak of Stendhal syndrome.”

Please Enjoy This Massive Online Trove of Classical Realist Painting

Notable Replies

  1. Fun Fact: I'm going to claim that Fred Ross is the son of Bob Ross. Note the happy trees in the background of the sample painting. Those clouds don't look depressed either!

    Edited to add: Oh Mark, you certainly knew who Waterhouse was, even if you had forgotten.

  2. You know who else hated modernism and loved realistic painting, don't you?

  3. Is it a new branch of Godwin's Law if the answer's George Bush?

  4. Enjoy it - but please don't use the images even if they are out of copyright, which in the US at least means that images of the images are ALSO out of copyright...unless you pay us for them.

    I'm getting rather sick of organizations which are supposed to be all about education placing barbed wire around their offerings and refusing to allow people to make use of their material - even when they have never owned the copyright. God, I'm even tired of individuals who buy up out of copyright photographs and then sell the decorated images on the reverse, as though owning one of the images somehow gives them the monopoly on the IP of the design.

    I particularly hate the fact that in the real world (rather than the artificial online gallery of the ARC) the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery in the UK, owned by US... refuses to allow high quality images to be used online, and refuses to allow people to make their own within the hallowed walls of the institution on the spurious idea that people may make low quality images which don't present the truth of the actual images - exactly what their insistence on the use of low-quality images on Wikipedia and elsewhere is presenting to the world.

    I'd like a future please in which educational institutions and websites actually lived the change and let us loose on high quality images for free, and free of copyright. As they should be.

  5. Pan?

    Must some other meaning of 'Realist'...

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