Realism is the section of painting that focuses on depicting a visually accurate image. Realist painters attempted to capture exactly what they saw in real life, rather than creating an idealized version like the classical artists of the Renaissance did.
Most early realistic paintings were portraits and landscapes (used for recording the appearance of nature) but later was expanded into the other areas of painting such as representation of homes, work and natural settings. To convey a sense of realism in their paintings, Realist painters often used color blending, perspective harmony and tone gradation to create the illusion that a viewer is actually looking at real life objects that are three-dimensional (3D). The correct depiction of volume was of high important and used techniques like shading to create the illusion of volume. Realist painters also often used chiaroscuro (contrast between light and dark) in their paintings to create focus on certain objects and isolate them from others.
Realism first appeared during the mid-19th Century as artists attempted to depict what they saw in the world around them. This was in contrast to the highly idealized images of the Renaissance and Baroque period and can be considered a part of Romanticism. During Realism, there was also an emphasis on individual experience rather than concepts like those based on religion or mythology, which Medieval and Early Renaissance artworks had used (this is referred to as a secularization of art). Realist painters are also called Naturalists, but Realism is more specific than that term. Realism became the dominant form of Western painting during the mid-to-late 19th century and was characterized by themes of everyday life. This contrasted with other movements at that time which were either formalist or romanticist. The realistic painters of the 19th century wanted to capture scenes as faithfully as possible, so that they could be used by other people to make a mental picture of common life in Europe and America. They especially focused on rural (countryside) and working class life which was generally ignored by Romantic artist. Many realist painter slike Gustave Courbet and Jean-François Millet painted scenes of farmers in the countryside, while Thomas Eakins and Édouard Manet depicted scenes of life in big cities. Realism can be seen as part of a desire towards naturalism that occurred during the Industrial Revolution. The industrial revolution turned rural living into an urban environment. This forced many peasants and small-town people into the cities, while also giving city workers more time to leisurely contemplate life.
Realist painters wished to be as accurate as possible in their portrayal of different scenes in life and used detailed observation of nature to achieve this. Realist artists of the mid-19th Century commented on what they saw and experienced in everyday life. They were known as "The Eye" painters because they wanted to show people things that they had never noticed before. Their efforts resulted in new ideas regarding composition, form and technique that have become the foundation of modern art.