By realism, we understand the forms of art where the image of reality takes centre stage. That reality is not necessarily reproduced as faithfully as possible: interpretation, distortion and approximation of that image are possible. The term was used in the middle of the 19th century for an art movement during which the image of contemporary life was the main consideration, based on the artist's own observations. Artists such as Gustave Courbet and Jean Fran sought a literal portrayal of everyday reality. When doing so, they often used the working population as subjects. For example, in his paintings, Millet immortalised the toiling and suffering peasantry. His work was of considerable importance to someone like Vincent van Gogh. Photorealism or hyperrealism is a movement that broke through internationally after 1965 particularly in painting and sculpturing in which artists aim to portray the reality as objectively, precisely and in as much detail as possible. Representatives are the painter Chuck Close and the sculptor Duane Hanson, who produced sculptures based on realistic works of people. A number of Dutch painters can be considered to be magic realists, who in the twenties and thirties of the 20th century painted reality but at the same time gave the paintings an alienating nature. Using a careful and realistic painting style, painters such as Pyke Koch and Carel Willink show us a world that is different to the world with which we are acquainted, strange and unreal.

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