The public interest in realism has varied over recent centuries but the respect for Courbet's achievements always remain strong.
His style and themes covered also links closely with members of several other art movements, such as Classicism, Romanticism and Academic art.
The key to Courbet's approach was to reflect real life, warts and all. He was not interested in the previous styles which had aimed at essentially photoshopping life into an unrealistic dream-like presentation.
In this way comparisons can be made with many artists, particularly the early work of Vincent van Gogh through paintings such as Potato Eaters. Alternatively, the Romanticism of Eugene Delacroix and Renaissance painter El Greco would portray their subjects far differently.
The artist's techniques would create heavy layers of paint, known as impasto, normally delivered from his preferred use of palette knife. Most other art movements at this time would seek a more refined finish which he consciously rejected.
Realism has continued into more recent centuries with the likes of Edward Hopper, but it is a less significant movement now than it once was. The same can be said for academic artists like William-Adolphe Bouguereau, with 21st century painters tending to prefer a more imaginative approach.
The achievements of Courbet helped to bring about the rise of the early modernists such as Edouard Manet and Claude Monet.