Examples of realism in art include: Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," the works of Winslow Homer and Gustave Coubert's "A Burial at Ornans." Examples of realism in literature are the works of Mark Twain and Henry James. Forms of realism include photorealism and social realism.
Realism in the general sense refers to a style of art or literature that shows or describes people and things as they are in real life. Realism is the realistic and natural representation of people, places and things in a work of art.
Realism as an art movement refers to a mid-19th century movement and style in which artists rebelled against Romanticism to paint familiar scenes and events as they actually appeared. The Realist artists often depicted ugly or commonplace themes.
Photorealism depicts minute details and is designed to appear as if the painting is actually a photograph. Social realism involves a moral or socio-political message to the artwork's depiction of common subjects.
Realist literature refers to the fiction produced in Europe and the United States from about 1840 until the 1890s that sought to represent commonplace things faithfully. In the United States, Mark Twain was a pioneer of realism. Anglo-American novelist Henry James, author of "The Turn of the Screw," was one of the most noted realist writers.