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YTA243 Second Appendix to Catalogue of the

1889 Verestchagin Exhibition.

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EALISM-realism!”. How very often do

we hear this term, and yet how seldom does it appear to be applied understand

ingly. What do you take realism to be? I asked a well educated lady in Berlin, who had been talking a great deal about realism and the realists in art. The lady did not seem to be ready with an answer, since she could only reply that “A realist is he who represents subjects in a realistic manner."

I hold, though, that the art of representing subjects in a realistic manner does not entitle a person to the name of realist. And, in order to illustrate my meaning, I may present the following example:

When the war of the British with the Zulus came to an end, there could be found no man among the prominent English artists who would take upon himself the task of committing to canvas that epopee enacted between the whites and blacks, and so the English had to have recourse to a very talented French artist. They gave him money, and explained to him that such and such were the uniforms and the arms of the English soldiers, and such and such were the clothing, or what represents clothing, among the Zulus. Then, eye-witnesses to the military encounters told the Frenchman of what consisted the background to the affair in each case, most likely supplementing their accounts with photographic views. Armed with this information the artist set to work, without having the least personal knowledge of the country he was going to reproduce, nor of the types, the peculiarities, or the customs of Zululand. With inuch assurance the artist went on with his task and turned out several lively pictures in which there are a great many men attacking an enemy-defending itself; a great number of dead and wounded; much blood ; much gunpowder-smoke, and all that kind of thing, yet, with all this, there is total lack of the principal thing: there are no Britishers nor Zulus to be found in the pictures. Instead of the former we behold Frenchmen dressed up in British uniforms, and instead of Zulus, the ordinary Parisian negromodels, reproduced in various more or less warlike attitudes.

Well, is that realism? No.

Most artists, besides, do not take sufficient pains to reproduce the true light under which the events they treat have really taken place. Thus, such scenes as are taken up in the just mentioned pictures-scenes of battles under the intolerably torrid

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