The phalanx attacking
the centre in the battle of the Hydaspes book illustation by the
French artist and engraver André Castaigne (1861-1929). Despite that
the Macedonian phalanx attacked with the sarissa a 4 to 7 meterlong
pike Castaigne depicts them here attacking with the sword because of
the better dramatic effect.
The Battle of Castillon by
the French painter Charles-Philippe Larivière (1798-1876). The
Battle of Castillon (July 1453) in Gascony was the last and decisive
French victory and marked the end of the Hundred Years' War.
Larivière shows here the death of the English commander John Talbot,
Earl of Shrewsbury.
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.