Verism is a type of style throughout different forms of art, starting with the Romans. Verism is a form of realism, and means "warts and all." While the Greeks used a form of idealism in their sculpture to make their subjects, usually someone of importance, look younger and more fierce. I think that the Romans used this style, which showed wrinkles, baldness, and pot bellies, to show age. Age to the Romans meant wisdom. Anyone shown as older, would be referred to as a wise man. I also think this style was a breakaway from the classical concept of Greece, and a Roman attempt to do something "Roman," than constantly follow in the Greeks footsteps.
The style of verism shows up again in early part of the 1900's in Italy through literature. The style is called verismo, which means "truth." Again it came to be popular because it was a backlash against the classical and romanticism forms that were around.
I believe that people tire of that fantasy and the appeal of realism pops up every now and again and becomes popular, because in the end, people always want the truth.