Themes in Art

Social Realism

Around the world, at different times, and in different styles, artists have portrayed the struggles of working class people. While there are many ways to tell a story visually, artists often use realism to make these images tangible, to make you feel like you're walking in the shoes of a barge-hauler in Tzarist Russia or a mother wondering how to feed her children during the Great Depression. Social realism may take on many different styles, but the intent is to create empathy with people who may be different than you.

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Barge Haulers On The Volga, Ilya Repin

Barge Haulers On The Volga Ilya Repin, 1870 – 1873

Girl with Yellow Hat, Norman Lewis

Girl with Yellow Hat Norman Lewis, 1936

Meeting Place, Norman Lewis

Meeting Place Norman Lewis, 1941

Migrant Mother, Dorothea Lange

Migrant Mother Dorothea Lange, 1936

Migration Series No.10: They were very poor, Jacob Lawrence

Migration Series No.10: They were very poor Jacob Lawrence, 1940 – 1941

Title unknown (Subway), Norman Lewis

Title unknown (Subway) Norman Lewis, 1945

Unexpected Visitors, Ilya Repin

Unexpected Visitors Ilya Repin, 1884 – 1888

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