From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Photorealism is the genre of painting resembling a photograph, most recently seen in the splinter hyperrealism art movement. However, the term is primarily applied to paintings from the American photorealism art movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, represented by artists such as Chuck Close and Richard Estes.
Important precursors of photorealism include Durer with works such as Young Hare and Great Piece of Turf, the Dutch school of painting, most notably and best-known Vermeer (The Little Street), but also the the photorealists of Dutch Golden Age painting, before Vermeer.
Vermeer and photographic realism
- I'm certainly not the first to notice the almost photographic realism of Vermeer's work but it was Jason Streed who first clued me in on one of the missing pieces in my understanding about this. Vermeer's paintings are so photo-realistic because in a very real sense they actually are photographs.
Photorealism as similacrum
Fredric Jameson uses the example of photorealism to describe simulacra. The painting is a copy of a photograph, not of reality. The photograph itself is a copy of the original. Therefore, the painting is a copy of a copy.
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