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Realism in the visual arts is a style that depicts the actuality of what the eyes can see. The term is used in different senses in art history; it may mean the same as illusionism, the representation of subjects with visual mimesis or verisimilitude, or may mean an emphasis on the actuality of subjects, depicting them without idealization, and not omitting their sordid aspects. Works may be realist in either of these senses, or both. Use of the two senses can be confusing, but depending on context the second sense is perhaps more common.

Realism as a tendency in 19th century art was related to similar movements in the theatre, literature and opera. All emphasized the depiction of everyday subjects, but by no means always discarding classical, Romantic or sentimental approaches to their treatment. The movement began in the 1850s in France. One of Gustave Courbet's most important works is A Burial at Ornans, 1849-1850, a canvas recording an event which he witnessed in September 1848. Courbet's painting of the funeral of his grand uncle became the first grand statement of the Realist style.

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Breton Fishergirl - Hector Caffieri - www.realism-in-art.org
Breton Fishergirl
Hector Caffieri
Promenading - Edward Clifford - www.realism-in-art.org
Promenading
Edward Clifford
The She-Wolf Suckling Romulus and Remus, from the 'History... - Agostino Carracci - www.realism-in-art.org
The She-Wolf Suckling Romulus and Remus, from the 'History...
Agostino Carracci
Bathers or Two Nude Women, c.1858 - Hanoteau, Hector (1823-1890) and Courbet, Gustave (1819-1877) - www.realism-in-art.org
Bathers or Two Nude Women, c.1858
Hanoteau, Hector (1823-1890) and Courbet, Gustave (1819-1877)
Three Nude Boys Evening sketch 1912 - Karoly Ferenczy - www.realism-in-art.org
Three Nude Boys Evening sketch 1912
Karoly Ferenczy
Female Figure Lying on Her Back, 1912 - Dora Carrington - www.realism-in-art.org
Female Figure Lying on Her Back, 1912
Dora Carrington
The Bather, 1863 - Jean-Francois Millet - www.realism-in-art.org
The Bather, 1863
Jean-Francois Millet
Farmyard Companions - John Frederick Herring, Jnr. - www.realism-in-art.org
Farmyard Companions
John Frederick Herring, Jnr.
The Boston Massacre, 5th March 1770 - Alonzo Chappel - www.realism-in-art.org
The Boston Massacre, 5th March 1770
Alonzo Chappel
The Dinner Party - Sir Henry Cole - www.realism-in-art.org
The Dinner Party
Sir Henry Cole
Love - Mihaly von Zichy - www.realism-in-art.org
Love
Mihaly von Zichy
Reclining Female Nude, c.1844-45 - Jean-Francois Millet - www.realism-in-art.org
Reclining Female Nude, c.1844-45
Jean-Francois Millet
The Hay Trussers, 1850-51 - Jean-Francois Millet - www.realism-in-art.org
The Hay Trussers, 1850-51
Jean-Francois Millet
Landscape with a Burning City - Jean-Francois Millet - www.realism-in-art.org
Landscape with a Burning City
Jean-Francois Millet
Horses by a Stable Door - John Frederick Herring Snr - www.realism-in-art.org
Horses by a Stable Door
John Frederick Herring Snr
Woman with a Parrot - Gustave Courbet - www.realism-in-art.org
Woman with a Parrot
Gustave Courbet
Female Slaves Presented to Octavian 1883 - Remy Cogghe - www.realism-in-art.org
Female Slaves Presented to Octavian 1883
Remy Cogghe
The Gleaners, 1857 - Jean-Francois Millet - www.realism-in-art.org
The Gleaners, 1857
Jean-Francois Millet
Battle of the Wilderness, Attack at Spotsylvania Court... - Alonzo Chappel - www.realism-in-art.org
Battle of the Wilderness, Attack at Spotsylvania Court...
Alonzo Chappel
A Lancer of Napoleon's Polish Guards on Winter Patrol - Jan van Chelminski - www.realism-in-art.org
A Lancer of Napoleon's Polish Guards on Winter Patrol
Jan van Chelminski
Lev Tolstoy, 1882 - Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge (Gay) - www.realism-in-art.org
Lev Tolstoy, 1882
Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge (Gay)
Lighting the Fire - Jan Weiland - www.realism-in-art.org
Lighting the Fire
Jan Weiland
Farm Animals in a Landscape - John Frederick Herring, Jnr. - www.realism-in-art.org
Farm Animals in a Landscape
John Frederick Herring, Jnr.
'Filho da Puta', the Winner of the Great St. Leger... - John Frederick Herring Snr - www.realism-in-art.org
'Filho da Puta', the Winner of the Great St. Leger...
John Frederick Herring Snr
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