Artistic realism involves honesty and accuracy, avoiding intepretation and implausible invention. Romanticism had left some longing for the days of realistic depictions which had been found in more traditional art.

Around the 1850s, French art started to move into a new direction, encouraging artists to move on from the dominant period of Romanticism.

The strong link between art and religion during the Renaissance had meant that themes were often intepreted with imagination and it was now that art could reflect normal life, scenes that we would all comes across on a daily basis.

Social realism would use such scenes to get across messages and comments on society, and these would not necessarily require bold, impactful content.

There have been various realism movements in the arts, such as the opera style of verismo, literary realism, theatrical realism and Italian neorealist cinema.