Hyperrealism (from the Greek “Giper”- over) originated in American art in the 1960s and 1970s and later spread to Europe. Originally the trend was called “photorealism” indicating that its main principle was the use of a camera, color slides , slide projection on the canvas in the process of creating the image. The definition of “hyperrealism” emerged slightly later and was introduced by Salvador Dali. Hyperrealist paintings resemble large-format photographs. Many artists use acrylic paint, which give the image a glossy finish, and even airbrushes in order to minimize the texture of the image.

The life of a modern metropolis is one of the most popular subjects for the hyperrealists. Display windows in shops and restaurants, telephone booths, advertising banners, metro stations and road signs become the protagonists of their works. Alexander Petrov has painted one of the most important elements of urban traffic — the traffic light. The street and cars are invisible to the viewer. The only things that can be seen are hats of the pedestrians and sunset sky over their heads. The artist does not reproduce reality in the literal sense — he imagines a hypothetical situation and makes it real and tangible by artistic means. All objects in the picture become equal and are painted with the same degree of detail. As if through a magnifying glass lens, the artist is observing the surface of the traffic lights lens, the tightly strung electric wires and felt hats. The pedestrians’ heads are “cloned”, repeated many times, making the characters equals without individual features.

Paintings featured in this exhibition:

"Russia on the Road.1920-1990" - Palazzo delle Esposizioni - Rome, Italy (29.09.2015 - 28.12.2015);
"Россия в пути. Самолётом, поездом, автомобилем" - Institute of Russian Realist Art - Moscow, Russia (21.01.2016 - 23.05.2016).


  • Title: Traffic Lights
  • Creator: Alexander N. Petrov (1947)
  • Date Created: 1990
  • Physical Dimensions: 182,5 x 162, 5
  • Subject Keywords: Hyperrealism, Petrov, Transport, Blue, Light, Hat, Realism, Choice, Horizon
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: The Insitute of Russian Realist Art
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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