Please enjoy this massive online trove of Classical Realist painting


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Fun Fact: I’m going to claim that Fred Ross is the son of Bob Ross. Note the happy trees in the background of the sample painting. Those clouds don’t look depressed either!

Edited to add: Oh Mark, you certainly knew who Waterhouse was, even if you had forgotten.


My impression of ARC and the Modernists over the years is somewhat akin to two neighbors squabbling over a property line. Neither party is willing to meet in the middle.

You know who else hated modernism and loved realistic painting, don’t you?


There are some great works here; such a display of skill, detail and classical themes that I admire and enjoy: I can tell an Argus from an Io, or a Hydra from a hyrax from many hundreds of yards away…these artists have the same knack.

But the writer methinks doth protest too much: it is kinda sad that the shared (well, among educated White People) Classical Heritage of Greek Mythologies are but a faint echo culturally of what they had been for the Western World, Lo, these past two and half Millennia.

But…things fall apart. It’s been a rough and tumble thrill ride the last 150 years or so: Art, whether profane, profound or popular…has mirrored it.

“I know now absolutely that nearly all the works by most of the famous Modernists are truly awful on all fronts…” I can imagine how a lover of these types of works might feel that way…it sure can feel like the Emperors New Clothes when being confronted by many forms of Art.

Similar to the writer for the American Record Guide, who seems to feel that every piece of music written or performed since Gustav Mahler put down his quill is akin to listening to lemurs flagellating each other with thorny branches. Yet from my personal experience…the ‘value’ of artistic works are due as much to the hand of the creator as to the effect they have upon the viewer.

I find the positions of the Art Renewal Center seriously repulsive, but that is not the fault of the featured artists.

I think my first exposure to that site was when I was researching Canaletto after having seen some of his paintings at the National Gallery during a class trip to London in 1999. I can’t swear it was directly afterwards, but it was a long, long time ago.

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Is it a new branch of Godwin’s Law if the answer’s George Bush?

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Enjoy it - but please don’t use the images even if they are out of copyright, which in the US at least means that images of the images are ALSO out of copyright…unless you pay us for them.

I’m getting rather sick of organizations which are supposed to be all about education placing barbed wire around their offerings and refusing to allow people to make use of their material - even when they have never owned the copyright. God, I’m even tired of individuals who buy up out of copyright photographs and then sell the decorated images on the reverse, as though owning one of the images somehow gives them the monopoly on the IP of the design.

I particularly hate the fact that in the real world (rather than the artificial online gallery of the ARC) the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery in the UK, owned by US… refuses to allow high quality images to be used online, and refuses to allow people to make their own within the hallowed walls of the institution on the spurious idea that people may make low quality images which don’t present the truth of the actual images - exactly what their insistence on the use of low-quality images on Wikipedia and elsewhere is presenting to the world.

I’d like a future please in which educational institutions and websites actually lived the change and let us loose on high quality images for free, and free of copyright. As they should be.

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Must some other meaning of ‘Realist’…

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