It’s ironic that the Pre-Raphaelites, who wanted to take painting back to the days before Raphael, then took up his themes.
From Mantegna and dancing Muses, through Rubens and Rochegrosse with the legend of Perseus, to a portrait by Odilon Redon.
His last chance to establish ‘modern’ history painting, with the Napoleonic Wars and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson.
With ‘modern history paintings’ long behind him, he turned to literary subjects and classical histories once more.
Easily told in words, stories are harder to paint. Here are five main methods used, explained and shown in examples from the masters.
Even the boldest of artists has avoided painting abandoned babies, except in the Biblical story of Moses. Veronese, Poussin, Sirani, Moreau and more.
Smoke in paintings by Poussin, Millet, Homer, Sargent, Waterhouse, Rossetti, and others with more subtle meanings about wind, magic, and gambling.
Painted by Bosch, the animal painter Paulus Potter, Charles Le Brun, and others. Best known from Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps.
Pointing and gesturing in a selection of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Corot, Poussin, Gérôme, John Singer Sargent and others.
Compositional techniques usually involving foreground trees which increase the depth of a picture. Explained and illustrated.