Dominic McIver Lopes, Pictorial Realism, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 53 (1995) 277-85

This paper examines a form of pictorial realism that has epistemic import. Gombrich and Schier claim that some pictures are realistic because they convey accurate information. The difficulty is that judgments of realism vary across cultural and historical contexts. Goodman counters that pictures belong to different systems and realistic pictures belong to familiar systems. However, this does not explain the revelatory realism' of pictures in novel systems. I propose that two views can be combined: a realistic picture is one which belongs to a system that conveys the kind of information that suits the needs of users in a context.