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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.

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It was very prestigious to buy these masters’ artworks for home.

Adrian van Ostade is a Dutch artist and engraver of the 18th century. He created many paintings, telling about the life of his countrymen.  

His characters do their craft, play musical instruments, teach children, or spend their leisure time, drink, smoke. The paintings speak to the fact that the artist had a good sense of humor.

Diego Velázquez is a Spanish artist, who lived in the XVII century and was a court painter. That era is called the golden age of Spanish painting. He depicted beautiful women in front of a mirror, spinners and princesses, warriors and popes.

Carl Spitzweg is a German artist of the nineteenth century, and a representative of the Biedermeier style. Looking at his paintings you understand that for an artist ironic and wise outlook is just as necessary as technique. The master perfectly combined these both features.

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Speaking about genre painting we cannot neglect the Biedermeier period, masters of which praised burghers, bourgeois life and home comfort.

Bieder is the German for ingenuous, philistine. Artists of this style idealized the life of a little man, a philistine, with their everyday concerns and joys. As little people liked this kind of painting, the sale of these artworks benefited artists considerably.

Paintings of Biedermeier artists breathe comfort and peace of mind.

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