The Emergence of Canvas Art Genre Painting

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The history of Canvas Art – how it started and grew to become a genre.

“The Milk Maid” canvas art painting was the artwork of Dutch baroque master Jan Vermeer that became so popular in the eighteenth century. People said that the painting was a representation of virtue. With the canvas art size of 45.5 by 41 centimetres, this shows Vermeer’s skill in rendering the effects of light and shadow on the subject given. This great artwork was the beginning of canvas art genre painting in human history.
Genre painting in fact is simply defined as painting with realistic depiction of scenes from day to day human life. The genre deals with ordinary life of people, including family, streets scenes, sports, recreations, parties and festivals, and prevailing traditions. Originally, genre painting was from the ancient time. We can find the scenes painted on Egyptian tombs which reflected the daily life of ancient Egypt at that time. Pompeii and Herculaneum works also revealed many genre paintings, both conventional and erotic.

However, the genre did not appear until the late Middle Ages in several religious calendars and manuscript books. Paolo Veronese was an Italian artist who painted The Marriage at Cana under the commission of Benedictine Monks in order to decorate the refractory of their monastery in Venice. The painting that depicted the marriage banquet at which Christ turned water into wine was made on the wall by Paolo in the 1560s.
Dutch Genre Painting Masters
The Dutch genre painting on canvas art came afterwards with the work of Jan Vermeer. Being the most illustrious school of genre painting during the 17th century, Dutch painters were called as little masters due to limited number of painting artists there. The most leading painters of Dutch like Jan Steen, Gerard Ter Borch, and Gerrit Dou contributed much to the genre paintings of artworks. Vermeer, Rembrandt and Frans Hals were also considered as Dutch painting masters who produced unrivalled beauty on canvas art.
Later Genre Paintings

Jean Antonie Watteau, Jean Baptise Chardine, and Honore Fragonard were the painters who showed vital developments of French genre painting. Grace at Table as one of Chardin’s painting on canvas art for example, was playfully decorative. It portrayed everyday middle-class wife domestic activity with uncontrived and serious realism touch. The Education of Dogs that belonged to Fragornard delicately showed flowery painting as well as coloured scene of romance and was one of the great artworks from French painters.
Entering the 19th century, genre painting spread out in Europe and the United States. William Sidney Mount which called as “Jan Steen of Long Island” was known as one of the leading American painters in this period besides Robert Henri, Joan Loan, George Wesley Bellows, and Grant Wood. Mount specialised on landscapes painting on canvas art. Eel Spearing at Setauket was one of his great artworks. Another great work on canvas art of Mount entitled Bargaining for a Horse was created in 1835. In addition to the artwork of Mount, Grant Wood contributed his artwork entitled American Gothic in 1930s. The style was influenced strongly by Flemish portraits though Wood’s subject was apparently rural American. Hence, the genre painting on canvas art developed much more broadly all over the world and revived up until present time.

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