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.
In the latter half of the 19th century, a new narrative form developed, primarily among British painters: the open narrative, or problem picture.
Suppressed by the Reformation, narrative painting didn’t really get going in Britain until the early 18th century, but made up for lost time.
First of two parts telling the classic story of the jealousy of sisters, plots, betrayal, and the troubles of old age, with plenty of fine paintings.
Why did Bosch show people wearing funnels on their heads? Why the Roundheads? How to tell priestly rank by the hat, and more about chaperons and top hats.
He specialised in ‘light genre’ paintings, not-to-serious domestic scenes, painted in fine detail, and was praised by Ruskin.
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.
Besieged with inquiries from people who couldn’t sleep, Yeames judged a contest to explain his painting. It was clear that even he didn’t know the answer.
Fine examples from Millais, Berthold Woltze, Yeames, William Quiller Orchardson, and Degas.
He specialised in history paintings of the Tudor and Stuart period, and later painted problem pictures to puzzle the viewer. He died 100 years ago today.