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What is the definition and meaning of naturalism? What is realism compared to naturalism? Find out more about naturalism in art, literature and drama.

Naturalism definition and meaning

Naturalism is a belief that nature is all there is. The meaning of this definition is that nothing else exists, except natural world. With this statement it’s clear that the things that are called supernatural (Gods, Satan, Ghosts, Souls…) do not exist. Naturalism takes place from the late 19th to the early/middle 20th century.

Principles of naturalism

The principle of naturalism is the natural science and the natural world, which were present in art and literature. Naturalism in art was represented by painting or sculpting object exactly as they were and not in some unreal or changed way.

Realism vs. Naturalism

There are two types of realism. The word “realism” can mean:

  • Style or movement
  • Representing scenes or objects in art

The second one is often called naturalism, which means that naturalism is part of realism.

Naturalism in Art

Naturalism literature

Naturalism in literature is present from the 1880s to 1940s. The writers in this period mainly described the social life, how people live and the power of environment to change human’s life. One of the most popular writers in this period was the French writer Emile Zola.

Naturalism drama

Naturalism in drama shows life in a real way, as much realistic as it can be. While in realism the people are also described realistically, naturalism tries to find out the source that makes people do certain things. The writers of naturalistic drama where inspired mainly by the Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Metaphysical naturalism

Metaphysical naturalism, also called philosophical naturalism, is a belief that all that exists (the universe) is made only from natural elements. The unnatural or supernatural elements do not exist, so the only thing that is real is nature.