Style: Hyperrealism

Ok, so I wasn't entirely sure about the difference between hyperrealism, photorealism and trompe l'oeil. My good friend Google tells that photorealism is a painting that looks like a photograph, like this:

(Richard Estes, Staten Island Ferry with a Distant View of Manhattan and New Jersey)

And hyperrealism is basically a HD version of photorealism, like this:

(Leng Jun, Portrait*)

Yeah, that's a painting. With oils and a brush. Pretty impressive.

Trompe l'oeil, which translates to 'deceive the eye', is different. Artists who want to take a 2D canvas and give it a 3D subject paint in trompe l'oeil. Escaping Criticism, by Pere Borrell del Caso, is one of the most famous examples of this (and boy, do I love an evocative title like that):

(Pere Vorrell del Caso, Escaping Criticism)
Pretty different subject matter, huh?

Which do you prefer?

In my personal opinion, a work of art doesn't show the subject, but the artist's representation of the subject. If you're looking at a still life, you're not seeing apples; you're seeing the artist's interpretation of apples. When artists try their damnedest to reproduce a photograph in paint, they interpret photography, not reality. As technically astounding as hyperrealist art is, I like an artwork that gives me a little insight into he who painted it.

Just my opinion though.

*I think that's what it's called. 


  1. Hi, Thanks for writing this post. I have to agree with you, that what I really enjoy about art is seeing the variety of ways that different artists are capable of interpreting one subject, or one image. For me, hyperrealism is impressive in it's skill, but it doesn't seem alive. It seems too mechanical, is if it has skipped the "human interpretation" phase, and all too often it seems devoid of life and personality. However, on the other hand, I really enjoy trompe l'oeil. It's clever, it makes you use not just your eye, but your brain, and often it's amusing and fun. My favourite is the ceiling of the ceiling of S.Ignazio in Rome, by Andrea Pozzo. It's overwhemling!

  2. Hey Jennifer,

    Couldn't agree more - it's the 'life' that I find engaging in other, more expressive styles. I know loads of people think the monotone canvases of the 20th Century show are rubbish, but I love them. I personally see more artistry in them than I do in a photorealist piece.



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