Verism (Italian verismo, from vero 'true') originally referred to a current of Italian literature in the 19th century devoted to an exact description and with a socially critical commitment to the lives of peasants and fishermen. From this, the term became the name for a direction of Italian opera at the end of the 19th century. From the beginning of the 20th century, veristic film formed its own tradition in Italy. Since the 1920s, the term also found its way into art criticism in Germany.
In 1920, Wilhelm Hausenstein used the term verism for the first time with regard to the art of Heinrich Maria Davringhausen and George Grosz, referring to post-Expressionist German art. Hausenstein defined verism as "the return of naturalism to the point of intransigence".
As a result, the term verism entered the literature as a designation of a mainstream of New Objectivity and is usually applied to various artists of the Weimar Republic who were dedicated to the study and depiction of a new social reality, such as Otto Dix, George Grosz, Christian Schad, Rudolf Schlichter, Karl Hubbuch, Georg Scholz and Jeanne Mammen.
The term Verismo is also used for a counter-current to Classicism in Italian sculpture around the middle of the 19th century, which is classified as Realism. The main representatives of this movement are Lorenzo Bartolini and Vincenzo Vela.