At all times artists have depicted the surrounding reality, because paintings with scenes from everyday life are always in demand. Once genre paintings were so popular that artists barely had time to create them for sale.
The motto of this genre is depict everything you see regardless of what you paint on, from vases to house walls. Genre art masters use means of painting, drawing and sculpture. The genre became extremely popularity in the Renaissance when artists interest shifted from transcendence to everyday life.
However back in the days of Egyptian pharaohs, artists also liked depicting that epoch’s everyday life in detail. This fact cannot but rejoice modern Egyptologists who can find peculiarities of ancestors everyday life on those paintings. Walls of Ancient Egypt rulers’ tombs show scenes of busy life in the Nile valley.
In contrast to Egyptians, who loved monumental forms, ancient Greeks preferred more fragile ones, so details of their everyday life were reflected in vase painting (ceramic painting). For this reason, only some of the miraculously preserved artworks have survived.
On these artworks we can see musicians playing various instruments, artisans making various objects, sports competitions, feasts, and even sex (important part of life at all times).
In the ancient world, domestic scenes besides ceramics were also depicted by means of mosaics and sculpture.
The first genre paintings appeared in the 4th century in China. Chinese painting is characterized by everyday scenes from life of the imperial court and life of common people. Neighboring Japan and Korea followed the example of Chinese masters.
In Arabic-speaking countries, despite religious ban on images of people, artists also depicted scenes from everyday life.
In medieval Europe’s art even in religious paintings there are interesting details of everyday life.
Since the Renaissance, this genre has taken its place of honor in European painting. And in the countries of the victorious Reformation, where religious themes in art had completely faded, genre painting was really flourishing. Paintings of the 17th-century Holland were dominated by images of sailors, fishermen, boats, and peasants with their domestic livestock and their dwellings.