Genre Painting


genre (zhän´rə), in art-history terminology, a type of painting dealing with unidealized scenes and subjects of everyday life. Although practiced in ancient art, as shown by Pompeiian frescoes, and in the Middle Ages, genre was not recognized as worthy and independent subject matter until the 16th cent. in Flanders. There it was popularized by Pieter Bruegel, the elder. It flourished in Holland in the 17th cent. in the works of Ter Borch, Brouwer, Metsu, De Hooch, Vermeer, and many others, and extended to France and England, where in the 18th and 19th cent., its major practitioners were Watteau, Chardin, Greuze, Morland, and Wilkie. In Italy genre elements were present in Carpaccio's and Caravaggio's paintings, but not until the 18th cent. did genre become the specialty of an Italian artist, Pietro Longhi. The French impressionists often painted genre subjects as did members of the American ashcan school.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Pictures of Everyday Life: Genre Painting in Europe, 1500-1900
Gordon Bailey Washburn.
Carnegie Institute, 1954
Landscape, Portrait, Still-Life: Their Origin and Development
Max J. Friedländer; R. F. C. Hull.
Schocken Books, 1963
Painting and Sculpture in Europe, 1780 to 1880
Fritz Novotny.
Penguin Books, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 14 "Under the Sign of Realism"
The Hero in Eclipse in Victorian Fiction
Mario Praz; Angus Davidson.
Geoffrey Cumberlege, 1956
Librarian’s tip: "Genre Painting and the Novel" begins on p. 1
Japanese Genre Painting: The Lively Art of Renaissance Japan
Ichitaro Kondo; Roy Andrew Miller.
C.E. Tuttle Co., 1961
Masters of the Japanese Print: Their World and Their Work
Richard Lane.
Doubleday, 1962
John Rupert Martin.
Harper & Row, 1977
Librarian’s tip: "Genre" begins on p. 128
Paintings on the Move: Heinrich Heine and the Visual Arts
Susanne Zantop.
University of Nebraska Press, 1989
Librarian’s tip: "Liberty Unbound: Heine's "Historiography in Color" begins on p. 31
Savage Eye: Melville and the Visual Arts
Christopher Sten.
Kent State University Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: "Melville and Dutch Genre Painting" begins on p. 18
A Concise History of American Painting and Sculpture
Matthew Baigell.
Icon Editions, 1996 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Genre and Narrative Painting" begins on p. 92
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