Not all artists work to create paintings or drawings that are accurate representations of their subject, but Realist painters work to do exactly that. The style became popular beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century, and since that time has been employed in a number of different "schools", movements and methods. It first appeared in the works of the Barbizon School, who believed that the landscape was an adequate subject, and later added the working peasants, who had never before appeared as the subject of a painting.
Additionally, realism has also come to signify the works of artists who are seeking to depict more honest subject matter, including poverty, urban life or scenes of subdued emotion. This is immediately evident in the paintings of the Ashcan school, which earned its very name for its subject matter.
Realism can apply to the works of such schools as the Barbizon painters, or to artists who practice "Trompe l'oeil"; it can be seen in works by painters of Naturalism as well as in the illustrative works of painters such as Norman Rockwell.
Realism is not a method, but a mindset with specific goals in place. Usually the subject is depicted in a manner that is not idealized or romanticized.
Painters considered to belong under the heading of "Realists" include, Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, Thomas Eakins, William Adolphe Bouguereau, Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper among many diverse others.