Photorealism and Photorealistic

What is your opinion about this topic? Two of the painters I admire the most are Turner and Caravaggio. Two completely different approaches about painting, but I have the feeling that if Caravaggio was a contemporary artist he could be labelled as too photorealistic.. in fact in his paintings u can see the wall of the studio, the same furniture in every painting, even models and also reflex of the tiniest thing including himself on a vase. I would like to have your opinion and if this discussion is not fitting the forum can be removed by the admin.


  • You've picked too good masters for favorites. There were many terrific painters that were going crazy over the new invention of the camera and photographs. All of a sudden the world didn't need artists to paint fresh fruit and lighthouses. Artists grudgingly turned to new art forms like impressionism and abstract art. Before long, realism in fine art was dead except for portraits. People still wanted Auntie Maude to look good and a painting was better than a photo because her warts wouldn't show.
  • Photo realism is different.  It was a movement back in the 70's.  The goal is to make a painting that looks like a photo.  Take a look at Chuck Close to see what I am talking about.  Caravaggio is not a photo realistic painter.  He is very representational but his paintings don't look like photos at all.  If you want to learn to paint like him look up Atelier type schools.  That style of painting really requires an extremely strong background in traditional drawing, especially figure drawing. Considering the time frame he was from that is what he learned. 

    If Caravaggio was alive today, he would make a killing as a scifi fantasy illustrator and would elevate the genre. 
  • I know he is not photo realistic even because there were no photography around yet so no "photo reality" to rely on. I said "he could be labelled as Photorealistic" which is different.
    I studied Caravaggio very deeply, even if Ateliers can teach a method to make painting looking like a Caravaggio, knowing he studied in the "Scuola pittorica lombarda" and he could use a chiaroscuro I doubt someone can learn to paint like him, but this is only my opinion coming out after many years sinking into his paintings.
    I strongly disagree also (sorry if I sound serious ahaha) with the sci fi parto too. There is nothing into Caravaggio coming from fantasy, his studio was his camera obscura and his canvas his pellicula. Nothing his fictional everything is real. Subject and composition are mainly what he used to express his genius. Tables, drapery, vase, clothes even giant wings! are real. He put up a studio and painted what he saw, until the last minute details for this there are no elaborated backgrounds (90 percent of the time walls of his studio) and nothing is coming from the except what I just said before. Now all this waffling and maybe I didn't even explained myself about this topic.. 

  • I don't his work looks anything close to photo realism.  It is very realistic though.  As far as learning to paint like him, I think one could learn to paint like that, although I didn't mean they would necessarily be as good.  He had a particular process and I have seen modern painters who painted that way.  not saying they were as good as him though (that is why he would be considered a master, not many of those running around).  He put the technique of Chiaroscuro on the map.  You can learn that:

    If you do want to learn that then the methods taught by Mark Carder are not very applicable other than learning to match a particular color.  His application method and strategy are completely different than what is required to paint like Caravaggio.

    Not sure if you have seen much scifi or fantasy art of late, but some of those guys are pretty damn good, and they use reference material (they don't make it all up out of their head).  The only one I can think of that didn't use a lot of reference material was Frank Frazetta but he was kind of an anomaly. My only point being is someone with his level of talent could do extremely well in this particular market even if the fine art market wasn't accepting of his sort of work now. 
  • I really enjoyed your response @JeffAllen :) I will take some time to ponder well what u wrote, and I thank you for sharing. We are both passionate about art and is a vast field full of pleasure and struggle. I'm involved mentally in so many ways into art that sometimes I can sound a bit reactionist but I'm not. DMP is a perfect way to learn to mix colours and to grasp shape value and edges and I thanks so much Mr Carder for sharing this for free on yt. Lately I'm learning about egg tempera and much! I hope to live long enough to create something to satisfy my soul..
  • I always wanted to try egg tempera,but am too busy with everything else.Supposedly you can get some extremely vibrant colors with that.

    Looking at your previous posts I think you would be well suited to Caravaggio's techniques.  Based on your drawing you posted you already have that sort of mind set.
  • Yes in fact I'm planning to do some experiments, we will see what it will come out.. thanks @JeffAllen

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