Romantic realism is a school of painting which involves the aspects of Romanticism and Realism to a great extent. It marries the two schools and attempts to bring out the best from both. This is an aesthetic term and tries to merge the two different painting movements though they are starkly different to one another.
Realism painting was done in such a manner as to highlight the plight of the society and its people. The acts which were painted were real and had no glossy cover, figuratively, over it. The paintings depicted reality as it was. On the other hand, Romanticism painting was more of a version painting; Most of the Romanticism painters took a subject and painted it according to their moods and thoughts irrespective of the true meaning and connotation behind it. This was the primary difference between the two.
According to art scholar John Baur, Romantic Realism is “a form of realism modified to express a romantic attitude or meaning.” This holds true on many levels because the best aspects of the two schools of painting were meshed together and worked on to produce Romantic Realism. While the stark reality of the Realism paintings was diluted somewhat, the over-the-top prejudiced annotations of Romanticism was also done away with.