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.
Modern interpretations of this popular traditional theme in Christian religious painting, from Pre-Raphaelite to the end of the 19th century.
In the latter half of the 19th century, a new narrative form developed, primarily among British painters: the open narrative, or problem picture.
Two new narrative themes that became distinctive in the mid-19th century were contemporary English poetry, and the legends of King Arthur.
Unwittingly, and outside their manifesto, the Pre-Raphaelite Brethren developed a new British narrative painting.
A controversial story of a moneylender getting revenge when a borrower defaults, and demanding a pound of flesh.
As the fiery reds of falling leaves change to dull earth browns, and we get the odd flurry of snow, we know that winter is almost upon us.
From Rubens’ double-portrait with Isabella Brant, and Rembrandt’s with Saskia, to Paul Signac’s wife with a parasol and Ferdinand Hodler’s wife Berthe Jacques.
Paintings of the death of Ophelia, from the first by Delacroix in 1838 to an etching from 1889. The most popular scene which happens entirely off-stage.
Suppressed by the Reformation, narrative painting didn’t really get going in Britain until the early 18th century, but made up for lost time.