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28 October, 2012
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Allegory (Winter, Night etc) / Narrative

Recently, in discussing the passing of the nude figure as a common subject matter in art, it occurred to me that another type of painting has become even more rare. When was the last time you saw a newly created piece of artwork done in a narrative mode? The fact is, that narrative painting is so rare today I find myself needing to define exactly what narrative painting is. I guess, to put it into today's vernacular, it's Friends or The X Files rendered in paint on canvas. It's story-telling art, and the very fact that I have to use TV shows to describe it says a lot about why Narrative Art is no longer with us.

The much-maligned Norman Rockwell was probably the last of the great narrative painters. It's no accident that the end of his career coincided quite closely with the advent of story telling in the electronic mode. A long artistic tradition dating as far back as cave painting with its wild animal hunts, up through Egyptian and Medieval wall painting, to Jan van Eyck's Marriage of Giovanni Arnofino, Michelangelo's Genesis on the Sistine ceiling, and European/American Genre painting, has come to an end in our lifetime. Worse than that, this type of painting has fallen into such disrepute amongst artists that no one feels the least bit sorry to see it go.

There is left remaining only two last vestiges of this art in the world today in two widely divergent and relatively minor areas. One is the highly refined and dynamically imaginative art of the comic book, usually of the super-hero/science fiction variety; while the other is a relic of the fine art of history painting in the form of works depicting exploits of military combat. Both of these have to be included in the realm of fine art, given their popularity and their collectibility (albeit narrowly focused) in various archival forms amongst the highly devoted individuals who admire such things. Both genres have long, colourful tradition of artistic development with comic book art stretching back almost one hundred years, and combat artist having painted every conflict from the Punic Wars to Desert Storm. For better or worse, neither of these forms of story-telling art seems in danger of demise.

contributed by Lane, Jim

9 October 1998

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The Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind (Pieter Bruegel (the Elder))
Abbey in an Oak Forest (Caspar David Friedrich)
Academie (Joseph Marie Vien)
Accolade (Edmund Blair Leighton)
Allegorical group representing London, Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude (Sir James Thornhill)
Allegory of Europe (Jean-Baptiste Oudry)
Allegory of Happiness (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano (Bronzino))
Allegory of Music (Jean-François de Troy)
Allegory of Painting (Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini)
Allegory of Sculpture (Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini)
Allegory of Sight (Jan Brueghel (the Elder))
Allegory of Wisdom and Strength (Paolo Caliari (Veronese))
Alone (Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec)
America (Rosalba Carriera)
Amor Victorious (Michelangelo Merisi (Caravaggio))
An Englishman in Moscow (Kazimir Severinovich Malevich)
April Love (Arthur Hughes)
Art and Literature (Sir Adolph William Bouguereau)
Ashes (Edvard Munch)
Autumn Leaves (Sir John Everett Millais)
By the Water's Edge (Berthe Morisot)
Cemetery at Dusk (Caspar David Friedrich)
Cloister Graveyard in the Snow (Caspar David Friedrich)
Crows in the Wheatfields (Vincent van Gogh)
Dance to the Music of Time (Nicolas Poussin)
Daybreak (Frederick Maxfield Parrish)
Despair (Edvard Munch)
Ecstasy (Frederick Maxfield Parrish)
Education is Everything (Jean Honoré Fragonard)
Filial Piety (Jean-Baptiste Greuze)
Flaming June (Lord Frederic Leighton)
Fortitude (Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi (Botticelli))
Fortitude (Sir James Thornhill)
Fountain of the Four Rivers (Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini)
Gentle Spring (Anthony Frederick Sandys)
Glad Day (William Blake)
God as an Architect (William Blake)
Head of Civitas (Audrey Flack)
Hope (Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones)
Innocence Preferring Love to Wealth (Pierre-Paul Prud'hon)
Inspiration (Jean Honoré Fragonard)
Interior Scene, known as The Rape (Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas)
Italian Comedians (Jean-Antoine Watteau)
Justice (Sir James Thornhill)
Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime (Pierre-Paul Prud'hon)
Justice and Peace (Corrado Giaquinto)
Knight of the Sun (Arthur Hughes)
La Primavera (Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi (Botticelli))
La Simplicité (Jean-Baptiste Greuze)
Lady Hamilton as 'Nature' (George Romney)
Madonna (Edvard Munch)
Maecenas Presenting the Arts to Augustus (Giambattista Tiepolo)
Melancholy (Edvard Munch)
Mirror of Venus (Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones)
Morning (Frederick Maxfield Parrish)
On English Coasts (William Holman Hunt)
Paternal Admonition (Gerard ter Borch)
Pilgrims Leaving the Isle of Cythera (Jean-Antoine Watteau)
Portrait of Mrs. Siddons as the Tragic Muse (Sir Joshua Reynolds)
Portrait of the Artist (Gustave Courbet)
Prudence (Sir James Thornhill)
Red Virginia Creeper (Edvard Munch)
Reveries (Frederick Maxfield Parrish)
Sacred and Profane Love (Tiziano Vecelli (Titian))
Solitude (Richard Wilson)
Solitude (Frederick Maxfield Parrish)
Solitude at Dawn (Henry Fuseli)
Spring (Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema)
Summer (Nicolas Lancret)
Summer (Walter Crane)
Temperance (Sir James Thornhill)
Temptation (Sir Adolph William Bouguereau)
The 28th July: Liberty Leading the People (Eugène Delacroix)
The Awakening Conscience (William Holman Hunt)
The Bird Cage (Nicolas Lancret)
The Call to Arms (Edmund Blair Leighton)
The Colossus (Francisco José de Goya Y Lucientes)
The Conjuration (Francisco José de Goya Y Lucientes)
The Cupid Seller (Joseph Marie Vien)
The Cure of Folly (Hieronymus van Aken (Bosch))
The Dance of Life (Edvard Munch)
The Four Continents (Peter Paul Rubens)
The Graham Children (William Hogarth)
The Knight Errant (Sir John Everett Millais)
The Light of the World (William Holman Hunt)
The Masque of the Four Seasons (Walter Crane)
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (William Blake)
The Paternal Curse (Jean-Baptiste Greuze)
The Pool of Bethesda (William Hogarth)
The Republic (Jean Léon Gérôme)
The Scapegoat (William Holman Hunt)
The Scream (Edvard Munch)
The Seven Deadly Sins (Hieronymus van Aken (Bosch))
The Ship of Fools (Hieronymus van Aken (Bosch))
The Source (Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres)
The South Sea Scheme (William Hogarth)
The Three Ages of Man (Tiziano Vecelli (Titian))
The Triumph of Venice (Pompeo Girolamo Batoni)
The Wheel of Fortune (Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones)
The Woodsman (Thomas Gainsborough)
Three Ages (Salvador Dali)
Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy (François le Moyne)
Vanitas (Frans Hals)
Vanity (Frank Cadogan Cowper)
Venus, Cupide and Time (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano (Bronzino))
Vision of a Knight (Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael))
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (Caspar David Friedrich)
Where do we come from? (Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin)
Windflowers (John William Waterhouse)
Winter (Newell Convers Wyeth)


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