Realism VS. Magical Realism

Realism began as an artistic movement in the 19th century. Unlike the earlier artists who had romanticized and idealized reality with beautiful landscapes, dramatic and emotional expressions, and beautiful descriptions of people in focus.  A change took place after the French Revolution of 1848 when the artists instead created more precisely descriptive representations of reality. No extravagances and beautifications anymore. Instead, the reality was described more accurately without exaggerating or removing flaws. This new way of looking at life and reality grew with the invention of photography, as artists could thus get snapshots of reality on the surface a chance to correct less attractive details or exaggerate and beautify their art objects. 


So what is Magical Realism, Fantasy Realism, or Magic Realism? All expressions describe the same movement that was a counter-movement to the accuracy of Realism as an art form. The term Magical realism was introduced by Franz Roh, a German art critic in 1925. When Roh began using the term, Magical Realism, he wanted to describe an art form that distanced itself from the strict guidelines of realism. However, it took some time before the term broke through as an artistic movement and when it happened, It was not until the 1940s in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Part of the appeal of magical realism is that it blurs the line between realistic fiction and fantasy. The artist has total freedom to add magical and imaginative elements, which broadens the views for the viewer.