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During his lifetime, Caravaggio was accused by his enemies of being unable to draw. He worked from live models, used lenses and mirrors, and employed a two-tone value scheme to attain unprecedented realism.
February 7, 2014 Artists Keynote Address to Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists by Fred Ross 2014-02-18
Why Realism? There are finally today many organizations that believe in the value and importance of realism, both classical and contemporary; but why Realism? Why, after a century of denigration, repression and near annihilation, when the accepted beliefs taught in nearly every high school, college and university for the last hundred years, has been that realism is unoriginal? After all, all realists do is just copy from nature. Realism they say is unsophisticated. Most people can tell what is going on in realistic painting or sculpture. It's so easy to understand. It's uncreative; only creating forms and ideas not found in nature show real originality. So the question of the day for society, and for realist artists, the question for the month, year, and really for the rest of their lives, is: Why Realism?
The present rediscovery of Bouguereau will eventually give the French master his rightful place in the pantheon of art, neither overly condemning him for those faults which Modernism has too hastily laid upon him, nor overly praising him for those virtues too easily conceded by his contemporaries.