A summary history from 1700 to the 20th century, with examples of major paintings, and links to each of the detailed articles in this series.
Two artists painted panoramas full of miniature stories, which assembled into broad summaries of contemporary society: Frith and Ford Madox Brown.
Twin brother and sister are shipwrecked. She disguises herself as a eunuch, and has a noblewoman fall in love with her. Then it gets even more confusing. Great comedy.
Two of Hogarth’s later narrative series: Four Time of the Day, and Marriage A-la-Mode, were key in his new British narrative painting.
Another huge human panorama which captured the spirit of the age, set in Paddington Railway Station. Not his last, though.
Physiognomy originated in ancient Greece, but was codified by Lavater in 1772; phrenology followed from 1796, and together they attracted many painters.
This quintessentially Victorian artist painted a richly narrative scene full of stories and visual anecdotes, so typical of the era.
How many verbal stories or movies tell dozens of different stories? Here are paintings that are not only so rich in narrative, but tell all those stories at the same time.
From West and Frith’s early paintings of the beach at Ramsgate, through their increasing popularity in the 19th century, to Boudin, Monet and Renoir.
It’s unusual and difficult to make humorous paintings. Here’s a fine selection from Bosch, Brueghel and Rubens to the late 19th century.