Battle of Svolder (1883) by the Norwegian painter Otto Ludvig Sinding (1842-1909). Sinding depicted here the decisive battle which resulted in the independence of Norway. Quite normal work that far, but more interesting is that he was much more famous for his landscape paintings of the wild Lofoten Islands. And because of that, I think, his battle painting is much more about the sea in the North and the light there than about that battle itself.
History painting dates back to the Renaissance and was long considered to be the "grand genre". Nevertheless it has its peak in the 19th century forged by Neoclassicism and Romanticism. There it became the artistic contribution in the process of the construction of National Identities of the European and American nations.
At the same time history painting under the influence of historism pretended to be "realistic", to show history how it has been. Above all it was this pretension that led to the great failure of History painting AND Realism at the end of the century.
When artists and their public realized that telling history always will be subjective and a painting will always be an illusion Realism and history painting lost their ground to modern painting.