Preference for realistic art predicts support for Brexit

Here is part of the abstract from Noah Carl, Lindsay Richards, and Anthony Heath:

Controlling for a range of personal characteristics, we found that respondents who preferred all four realistic paintings were 15–20 percentage points more likely to support Leave than those who preferred zero or one realistic paintings. This effect was comparable to the difference in support between those with a degree and those with no education, and was robust to controlling for the respondent’s party identity.

Via the excellent Kevin Lewis.


Intriguing - there does not seem to be a current Kevin Lewis link concerning that paper, and the actual Kevin Lewis link is to an Oct. 4 round up that is focussed mainly on race.

Such fascinating coincidences one finds here at times.

Particularly in regards to 'Viele Menschen in den Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften haben einfach Angst, ihre Meinung zu sagen.'

Thomas Kinkade (!), Jeffrey Larson, David Gray, and Michael Klein for the realists v. Irma Cerese, Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon, and David Hockney for the non-realists.

Not exactly a fair match up of artistic talent. Admiring ugly and abstract modern art is de rigueur among the rootless cosmopolitan set.

They should have tried Rembrandt vs Basquiat on the Kavanaugh nomination

Actually, Rothko is a horrible choice, as anyone who has actually seen one of his oversize works in person would likely attest. Personally, Rothko has little interest for me, but there is no question that his work in its actual scale is in no way well represented by being displayed on a page or screen.

Because realism originated in France? ☺

Not sure if realism originated in France (classical art until the turn of the last century was always very realistic), but for modern art, photo realism is quite popular and the Hess art gallery in the Napa Valley, California once had, and probably still does, a beautiful blonde girl in larger-than-life photo realistic nude pose. One of my favorite works of art. I tried not to leer too much when I was with my hot Chinese girlfriend (who later dumped me for an even richer guy, in CA there's lots of competition for the women).

Bonus trivia: Nazi art was photorealistic, as was Maoist art, and some of the former is housed in George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, USA. I think GMU also has "NRA" US govt sponsored 1930s artwork.

Realism has two meanings, as far as i know.

The first one means a painting looks like the real thing. Perspective is applied to create a depth (3D) illusion. The painter brushes with lots of care to create detailed textures for every object in the painting. So, apples or the girl you describe look appetizing. Realism describes the technical features of the painting. There are 15th century examples: Velazquez, Rembrandt.

The other meaning of realism is the rejection of romanticism. For some time in Europe most of paintings were about fairies, angels and nobles. Some French guys ~150 years ago disagreed and started painting real life situations, i.e. poor famished people. Realism in this case points at the subject of interest of the painting. It's not the Captain Frans B. Cocq but an anonymous guy working on a field.

Good summary. Rembrandt of course painted in the 17th C.

the +/- 1 between years in thousands and centuries.....

@Axa - you are probably right about "realism" and your definition of the same, but "photo-realism" is a modern term of art. I was referring to "photo realism", invented in the 1960s, where the artist literally reproduces a camera shot with their brush. The Hess blond girl is world famous btw, reproduced in modern art books, as it was one of the first such photo-realistic works. Where is she now (the real life girl)? She was stunning.

Just saw the supporting information of the article. Sadly, the subjects were not shown Le Origine du Monde from Gustave Coubert.

They were shown instead this that was classified as 'realistic':

Well, kitsch is something that Germans understand very well - 'What we English people call ugliness in German art is simply the furious reaction against what Germans call süsses Kitsch, the art of the picture postcard, and of what corresponds to the royalty ballad. It has for years been their constant reproach against us that England is the great country of Kitsch. Many years ago a German who loved England only too well said to me, 'I like your English word plain; it is a word for which we have no equivalent in German, because all German women are plain.' He might well have balanced it by saying that English has no equivalent for the word Kitsch. [Edward J. Dent, "The Music of Arnold Schönberg," "The Living Age," July 9, 1921]'

And I just actually looked at that picture - clearly, someone either has an amazingly sardonic sense of humor or a feeling that the Shire is not merely somewhere in Tolkien's imagination.

If you look, remember to use incognito mode or you'll spend the next several weeks looking at ads for Thomas Kinkade prints. And that painting is so bad that I almost want a copy, though one of these would be even better:

With one having Burning Down The House by Talking Heads as the musical accompaniment, undoubtedly.

Though thanks for the advice, I basically never see ads - I don't normally turn on images, flash, or javascript. The recent site 'upgrade' does force me to turn on javascript to reply, but it is easy to turn off again. (It is always amusing when some site says that an ad blocker is being used - nope, I just set things in the browser so it is basically ad incapable.)

Be nice to control for whether the paintings showed chaotic vs structured themes. You can have art that lacks realistic elements and is wholly abstract that shows some preference for expressing an ordered world and those that are visually quite chaotic and lively.

I think the skill level factor is quite interesting as well. How would you equalize for that factor by selecting an equally "skilled" group of paintings to compare?

So it's a missing variable bias then?

This makes perfect sense. No, it has nothing to do with kitsch but everything to do with order and stability in the midst of chaos. Conservatism places a high priority on order and stability. Taking a wrecking ball to alliances, institutions, and the rule of law is the opposite of conservatism, it's radicalism of the highest order. Nazi Germany took a wrecking ball to order, stability, and the rule of law, yet the Nazi's had a preference for classical Greek and Roman art and classical music. Order amidst chaos. When one embarks on a path of chaos, counter-balance is essential to maintain the delusion of order and stability. Psychologists describe the individual whose life is in chaos, but whose surroundings are in perfect order. Donald Trump is taking a wrecking ball to alliances, institutions, and the rule of law, but his surroundings (his homes, Mar a Lago, etc.) give the impression of old world order and stability. The latter counter-balances the former, making it possible to maintain the delusion of order.

All groups of socially disruptive revolutionaries across the 20th century did not clearly prefer classical music and representative art (over jazz, abstract art, where they had the opportunity to have experience of both).

The great thinkers of the rational-empirical Enlightenment did prefer classical music and representative art.

Beautiful comment, thank you.

Remember kids, that wide behavioral variance is supposed to enhance group survival. It isn't there so one slice of the variance can insist they have all the answers all the time.

Not surprisingly these Nazis don't like "degenerate art."

Of course the survey has zero validity. The most interesting part about the realist/abstract dichotomy in art is the groups of artists themselves. The most notable of the abstract artists seem to be gay. Abstract art could just as well be called homosexual art.

Sure, whatever you say cupcake.

I'll be over there with the Magrittes and Kahlos.

A "dog bites man" story and an illustration of Tyler's second law.

The European Union is like a giant labor cartel. It guarantees mediocrity.

I wonder if it's related to the amygdala?

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