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Genre painting and scenes of everyday life

Before Modernism, genre painting was lowest in the hierarchy of motifs in the visual arts. Within genre painting, the aim was entertainment and simple moral education. The stories told were often simple and exaggerated, and, today, they give us a glimpse of the everyday life and popular culture of previous periods. With the breakthrough of Realism and Naturalism in literature, a psychological motif was also introduced in the visual arts. With painters such as Christian Krogh and Hans Heyerdal, scenes of everyday life, often from the darker side of society, became the object of serious and dramatic depictions.