7-Brouwer - Genre Painting Genre paintings represent the...

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Genre Painting Genre paintings represent “the present.” They are not based on literary, biblical, mythological, or historical sources, and (with rare exceptions) do not portray specific events or specific individuals. Rather, they portray “generic” ones. A longstanding criticism of genre painting is that, since it only depicts the “contemporary,” it allegedly cannot represent the “universal.” Criticisms of genre painting go all the way back to classical antiquity, as when the Roman historian Pliny divided paintings into two broad categories: maximae pictoris (“major pictures”) and minoris picturae (“minor pictures”) – the latter being scenes from “ordinary” or “everyday” life. Negative criticism culminated in the 18th century, when the famous English author and wit Horace Walpole referred to genre painters as “those drudging mimics of nature’s most uncomely coarseness.”
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Peasant Wedding Feast , c. 1568 Peasant Dance ( Kermis ), c. 1568 A pair of large-scale works (over 5 ft. wide) by the “father” of serious paintings dealing with peasant life. Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1527-69; active mainly in Antwerp) Bruegel
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The Fat Kitchen , 1563 The Lean Kitchen , 1563 A pair of satirical engravings after designs by Bruegel dealing with peasant life
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The Fat Kitchen , 1563 The Lean Kitchen , 1563 Inscriptions below the prints are two-line rhymes in French and Dutch. The one below The Fat Kitchen reads (loosely translated): Beat it Thinman! Though you are hungry, you are wrong. This is Fat Kitchen here, and here you don’t belong.” The one below The Lean Kitchen reads (likewise loosely translated): “Where Thinman cooks, there’s meager fare and lots of diet trouble. Fat Kitchen is the place for me, I’m going there on the double.”
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Adriaen Brouwer (1606-38; active in Antwerp) Born in 1606 (same date as Rembrandt) in a Flemish town near the Dutch border; died in 1638 at the age of 32.
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