21 Most Mind-Blowing Hyperrealistic Paintings

As an outgrowth of photorealism, hyperrealism is a relatively new school of painting that creates the illusion that you’re actually looking at a photo. With new technology in cameras and digital equipment, artists have been able to be far more precision-oriented. While photorealist painters tend to imitate photographic images and will consciously omit details, the hyperreal painter is more literal, incorporating photographic limitations such as depth of field, perspective and focus. Because hyperreal art creates a false reality, it requires a high level of skill.

I’ve put together some of the most amazing hyperreal paintings that will make you question whether you’re actually looking at a painting or a photograph. If the artist has done his or her job well, you’ll stand back in awe at their work.

Simon Hennessey
Simon Hennessey is a hyperrealist that specializes in portraiture and the human figure. His close ups of people’s faces can truly be appreciated when you start staring at the little details. Notice the hair, the wrinkles and image in the eyes (3rd picture).

Medium: Acrylics

Denis Peterson
Denis Peterson is a hyperrealist painter that was as one of the first Photorealists to emerge in New York. Widely acknowledged as the pioneer and primary architect of Hyperrealism, Peterson was at the forefront of the movement. His meticulously detailed New York cityscapes purposely draw your eyes to the huge billboards and advertisements. Peterson wanted the weight and pressure of billboards and advertisements to be a commentary on contemporary society and its effects on people. To me, the way he captures the look of despair in person’s eyes or demeanor is equally amazing.

Mediums: Acrylics and urethanes

Robert Bechtle
Robert Bechtle is an American painter born in San Francisco, California. Having lived his whole life in that city, he paints it exquisitely. Adept at capturing the middle-class ordinariness of life, his simple paintings remind us of how complicated life really is.

Medium: Oil on canvas

Jason de Graaf
Jason de Graaf’s paintings are so real, they look like you could just grab the objects right out of the screen. He likes to take some creative liberty with his work, not just reproducing it faithfully but adding in an illusion of depth not found in photographs.

As he says, “I don't strictly adhere to the reference material at hand. I use my subject as a springboard and a means to explore my ability as a picture maker. I use colours and composition intuitively with the intent of imbuing my paintings with emotion, mood and mystery. Throughout, I try to remain open to new ideas and surprises as the painting unfolds.”

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Pedro Campos
Pedro Campos creates such crystal clear images it’s hard to believe they’re made by oil on canvas. Taking everyday objects like Coke cans, marbles and fruit, and transforming them into interesting pieces of art, Pedro’s a hyperrealist painter with an extraordinary eye for detail.

Medium: Oil on canvas

Jacques Bodin
Jacques Bodin’s paintings almost seem like they’d be photos you’d find on Flickr. A French hyperreailst painter, he’s known to capture light and shadows just like you would see in a photograph.

Medium: Oil on canvas

Richard Estes
Richard Estes is often mentioned in the same breath as Denis Peterson, Audrey Flack, and Chuck Close. His work centers around city life and includes amazing paintings on storefronts and buildings with glass windows. Estes studied fine arts at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After having worked as a graphic artist for ten years, Estes turned his hobby of painting into a full-time career.

Medium: Oil on canvas

“I think the popular concept of the artist is a person who has this great passion and enthusiasm and super emotion. He just throws himself into this great masterpiece and collapses from exhaustion when its finished. It's really not that way at all. Usually it’s a pretty calculated, sustained, and slow process by which you develop something. The effect can be one of spontaneity, but that's part of the artistry. An actor can do a play on Broadway for three years. Every night he's expressing the same emotion in exactly the same way. He has developed a technique to convey those feelings so that he can get the ideas across. Or a musician may not want to play that damn music at all, but he has a booking and has to do it. I think the real test is to plan something and be able to carry it out to the very end. Not that you're always enthusiastic; it’s just that you have to get this thing out. It’s not done with one’s emotions; it's done with the head.” – Richard Estes

Other Amazing Photorealistic Art
Photorealistic Flesh Drawings by Cath Riley (11 pics)
19 Amazing Paintings, Not Photos
15 Photorealistic Paintings That Pop!
Amazing Photorealistic Star Wars Art

Who’s your favorite hyperreal artist, shown here?