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Genre painting

Related: genre - painting - everyday life


Genre painting, also called genre scene or petit genre, attempts to depict aspects of everyday life, via portraits of ordinary people engaged in common activities. These depictions can be realistic, imagined, or romanticized by the artist. Because of their familiar and sentimental subject matter, genre paintings have often proven popular with the bourgeoisie, or middle class.

Genre paintings like those by Adriaen and Isaac van Ostade, Tenier, Cuyp, Johannes Vermeer and Pieter De Hooch became popular in the Netherlands in the 17th century. These works inspired eighteenth-century French painters who also sought to depict everyday life, whether through careful realism in the works of Chardin or the romanticized paintings of Watteau.

Genre paintings have been created wherever artists seek to celebrate and record the everyday experiences of the middle class. The works of American painter Ernie Barnes and those of illustrator Norman Rockwell could exemplify a more modern type of genre painting. Today, genre paintings can also provide a window into the everyday life of a bygone era. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genre_painting [Sept 2005]

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