Kerek, Amanda -Krieghoff

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Introduction

Genre paintings appear to provide a glimpse into the lives of everyday people as they are living them. They provide a window to a candid moment in time that the viewer can use in an attempt to imagine or connect with a similar experience. I think that it is the versatility of a genre painting and the potential to affect the viewer that makes them so important in art history. Knowing that Cornelius Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam and studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Dusseldorf provides a reasonable idea of the early artistic influences that can be seen in his paintings. Immigrating to North America in 1835 and settling in Montreal in 1840, Krieghoff would take on new subject matter as he saw it in the developing French-Canadian culture. However, while Krieghoff's Canadian based genre paintings do show some similarities with those of the 17th century Dutch variety there are also some obvious differences. A comparison of Krieghoff's works and those of some well known 17th century Dutch painters shows a sort of evolution to the idea of the genre painting that combines both modern and traditional elements to create something distinctly Canadian.