40,033 artworks, 4,494 artists
Realism (late latin realis — “real”) is an artistic style that truthfully and objectively reproduces the reality around us in all its details. This art movement is considered a reference point in the development of contemporary art. Realism in painting continued to advance the progressive goals of modernism through the revision and refutation of traditional systems of values and beliefs. Everyday life and the modern world have become suitable objects for art that captured the reality accurately and objectively.

Having originated in France in the early 1840s, realism broadened the concept of what art really was. Under the influence of numerous social changes, the artists of this art movement replaced idealistic images and literary ideas about traditional art with real events, giving them the same importance as to historical paintings and allegorical subjects. Realistic artists sought to bring everyday life into their paintings, combining art and life.

Their artworks tended to dark, earthy shades, which was against the ideals of beauty of high painting. Artists often chose accusative themes for their paintings, using realism as a way of mocking the morals and values of the bourgeoisie and the monarchy. One of the realist pioneers was the artist Gustave Courbet who severely criticized the government and art education at whole. His painting “A Burial at Ornans” (1849—1850) marked the debut of realism as a new and significant force in European painting.

Development of newspaper printing stimulated many artists to use the press to encourage interest in their works and ideas. Not only did realist artists challenge the state system, but they also showed the great possibilities of organizing their own exhibitions and pavilions within the framework of large-scale exhibitions by their personal example. The creative achievements of Courbet and Manet anticipated the pictorial pursuits, which eventually formed impressionism. Realism became the source of photorealism and hyperrealism.

Significant realist paintings:
A Burial at Ornans, Gustave Courbet, 1850
The Bathers, Gustave Courbet, 1853
The Luncheon on the Grass, Édouard Manet, 1863
The Sower, Jean-François Millet, 1850
The Agnew Clinic, Thomas Eakins, 1889
Barge Haulers on the Volga, Ilya Repin, 1873

Realist artists:
Gustave Courbet, Édouard Manet, Jean-François Millet, Rosa Bonheur, Jules Breton, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Thomas Eakins, Wilhelm Leibl, Ilya Repin, Honoré Daumier, Jules-Bastien Lepage, Silvestro Lega.