From the Salon to your living room: the naturalist art theory brought to life Ramble & Roam

From the Salon to your living room: the naturalist art theory brought to life

The naturalism art movement, around the beginning of the nineteenth century was a direct response to the idealized and unrealistic portrayals of nature in art at the time. Artists sought to depict nature as it actually appeared, resulting in more realistic and lifelike images.

Naturalism was an artistic and literary movement that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It aimed to depict reality in a raw and unfiltered manner, often focusing on the harsh realities of life, human behavior, and the influence of environment and heredity on individuals. 

This approach to art has had a lasting influence on home decor, as many people today seek to move away from the unrealistic expectations placed on them through social and magazines, and instead look to live a more curated, personalized slow-living lifestyle. 

Bring it to life in your home

Obviously, many want to incorporate natural elements in their decor. Whether it's adding a few plants to brighten up a room or hanging a piece of nature-inspired art on the wall, there are countless ways to bring a touch of naturalism into your home.

The naturalist movement is having a big impact on home decor trends today. This aesthetic emphasizes a connection to nature, and often incorporates natural materials like wood, stone, and plants. Many people are drawn to the naturalist aesthetic because it feels calming and grounding. This style can also be very stylish and modern.

There are many ways to bring a touch of naturalism into your home decor.  The biggest thing is to focus on the comfort of your home, making sure your choices reflect the casual inviting nature of a afternoon in the park.

Here are a few ideas to get started:

Add plants

Plants can brighten up any room and add a touch of nature. Consider the lighting requirements and overall plant shapes that work best for your house.

Plants help make a naturalist style home

Hang nature-inspired artwork

Artwork depicting landscapes, animals, or other aspects of nature can bring the beauty of the outdoors into your home.

This piece, What If Ida Roamed, is an homage to an early female explorer who was well known at the time but lost to the annuals of history. Her writings from her travels  published in newspapers all over the world, and celebrated weekly, sort of an early influencer. 

Consider a Living wall

Consider a living wall: A living wall is a wall covered with plants. You can buy ready-made living walls or create your own.

Bring in the elements

Bring in the elements: such as natural materials like wood, stone, or bamboo.

Here we see a rustic wood bookshelf, with slight char and imperfections, perfect for a way to bring naturalist art style into your decor. 

Use light and color

Use light and color: Bring in sunlight with large windows or skylights, and use light colors on walls and floors to create a bright and airy space.

Incorporate natural textures

Incorporate natural textures: 
Use fabrics made from natural fibers like linen or cotton, and add texture with rugs made from wool or jute.

Use nature-inspired patterns

Use nature-inspired patterns: Add visual interest with patterns that are inspired by nature, such as floral or paisley designs.



Notable naturalist artists

Some of the best-known artists and writers associated with naturalism include Émile Zola (1840-1902), and Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), so we won’t spend much time on them here. 

However, some lesser known naturalists include Thomas Hardy (1840-1928): Hardy, an English novelist and poet, is known for his realistic and pessimistic portrayals of rural life and human relationships. Works like "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" and "Jude the Obscure" exemplify his naturalistic approach to storytelling. 

Jack London (1876-1916): London was an American writer and journalist who incorporated naturalistic elements in his adventure novels and short stories. His best-known works, such as "The Call of the Wild" and "White Fang," explore the struggles of humans and animals in harsh environments. 

Édouard Manet (1832-1883): Manet, a French painter and a key figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism, had a significant influence on naturalist art. His paintings often depicted contemporary scenes, challenging traditional subject matter and techniques.

The women of naturalist Art

While the naturalist movement was predominantly male-dominated, there were several notable female artists who embraced its principles and made significant contributions. Here are a few examples:

  1. Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899): Bonheur was a French painter and sculptor who achieved great success during her time. She was known for her realistic and detailed animal paintings, which often reflected a naturalistic approach. Her most famous work, "The Horse Fair," exemplifies her skill in depicting animals with precision and authenticity.
  2. Berthe Morisot (1841-1895): Morisot, a French painter and a key figure in the Impressionist movement, also had naturalistic tendencies in her work. While she is primarily associated with Impressionism, her paintings often captured scenes from everyday life with a candid and unidealized approach, aligning with the principles of naturalism.
  3. Elizabeth Jane Gardner (1837-1922): Gardner, an American artist, was known for her realist and naturalistic paintings. She studied in Paris under the tutelage of academic painter Jean-Baptiste-Ange Tissier and embraced the style and subject matter associated with naturalism, particularly in her portraits and genre scenes.
  4. Marie Bashkirtseff (1858-1884): Bashkirtseff, a Ukrainian-born Russian artist, is known for her self-portraits and candid depictions of everyday life. Her work often reflected a naturalistic approach, emphasizing truth and realism. She also kept a detailed diary that documented her thoughts and experiences as a female artist in the late 19th century. 
  5. Mary Cassatt (1844-1926): Cassatt is a notable artist who can be associated with naturalism, particularly in her early works. Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker who spent much of her career in France. While she is often considered an Impressionist, her works do exhibit naturalistic tendencies, particularly in her portrayals of intimate domestic scenes and her focus on capturing human emotions and everyday life with a sense of realism.

Naturalism in art has had a lasting influence on home decor. By incorporating the realistic elements explored by naturalism, you can create a space that is modern, unique, stylish and inviting.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.