Shop by Subjects
Shop by Artists
Realism refers to the accurate, unembellished representation of the ordinary, observable world without idealization. Eschewing romantic ideals of beauty, abstraction and imagination, art realism seeks to depict objects and figures as they appear in real life. Realism paintings have fine details and realistic perspective. From Gustave Courbet's unflinchingly honest rendering of human misery in The Stonebreakers to Jean-Francois Millet's portrayal of the heartbreaking wretchedness of rural poverty in The Gleaners , many realist paintings carry an implicit social commentary by portraying the drudgery of everyday life as experienced by the unsung and the unexceptional. Realism art shares several elements with naturalism, which explains why the terms art realism and naturalism are sometimes, but not always accurately used interchangeably. The fundamental differences between art realism and naturalism resist simplistic comparisons between the two schools of painting. In the broadest sense, art realism represents things as they exist, without embellishment or adornment, while naturalism portrays things as they might exist, suggesting a certain degree of improvement over their actual appearance.