More a style of representation than a period the realism tries to reproduce reality true to life. There are many different forms of realism such like socialist realism, social realism, and magic realism.
Genre paintings in the closer sense depict everyday scenes of rural, bourgeois or courtly life. Here the term Genre is extended to all areas of human life. The early Genre paintings represent their motifs realistically, however oftentimes the image contents are to be understood as allegories, sometimes even as moralising artworks either praising idylls or denouncing human misconduct. Later in the 19th century the realistic component was brought again to the fore.