In the latter half of the 19th century, a new narrative form developed, primarily among British painters: the open narrative, or problem picture.
The enjoyment of being idle, indulgence of relaxation, and blissful laziness: that’s dolce far niente for you, in paintings to chill out with.
Can a single painting tell the viewer a story which they don’t already know? Examples from Holman Hunt, Degas, Orchardson, Collier and Chierici.
New genres in literature gave the public a taste for different forms of narrative. Here’s a short account of the response in ‘problem pictures’ from Hunt to Collier.
Becoming more popular in the late 1880s and early 1890s, ‘problem pictures’ from Marie Spartali Stillman, Henrietta Rae, Millais, and others.
Fine examples from Millais, Berthold Woltze, Yeames, William Quiller Orchardson, and Degas.
The late 19th century took gambling upmarket into glitzy casinos. Seen in paintings by Courbet, Rossetti, Félix Vallotton, and others.
Their purpose was to encourage speculation and debate as to what their narrative is.