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Wed 4 February - Sun 9 May 2004
With about 110 paintings - among them major works of Watteau, Chardin and Fragonard - this exhibition is the biggest exhibition of French genre painting ever to be seen in Europe.
'Genre painting' was only defined in the course of the 18th century: it comprised different subjects such as portraits, landscape, still life, interiors, and scenes of daily life. In general, 'genre painting' was the collective term for paintings which were not of a historical, religious or mythological nature.
In the first half of the 18th century, Watteau and the courtly genre dominated. From the 1730s, however, Chardin put the accent on paintings of silent poetry. At the same time, a tendency towards moralising and sentimentality became apparent, and at the end of the century the harbingers of classicism modified the style of genre painting.
Through its excellent selection of works, this exhibition achieves a comprehensive representation of the field of genre painting. By focussing on the leading representatives of the genre, it offers great art to the eyes and intellect of visitors.