“The Country Wedding” 1820. By John Lewis Krimmel. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
John Lewis Krimmel (1786-1821) immigrated to America from Germany in 1809. His genre paintings depicted rural life and public gatherings.
Genre paintings and prints from the past provide a glimpse into manners and lives before the invention of the camera, but these works of art are a combination of realistic, romanticized, imagined, and symbolic elements. Genre-painting is one of the five main types of painting (history painting, portraiture, genre painting, landscape and still life) and is defined as a painting of scenes depicting average people engaged in daily life as it really happened. Ordinary people are depicted inside their homes or in places where people gather such as markets, inns, taverns, or fairs, usually engaged in common, daily activities. This type of art is in contrast to genres that depict historical or mythic characters or those with wealth and political power.