Genre scenes (or "Petit Genre") is depicting aspects of everyday life by portraying ordinary people engaged in common activities. It  shows figures to whom no identity can be attached either individually or collectively.

Despite a relatively low ranking in the academic painting genres hierarchy, it has always been a major source of inspiration, from ancient Egyptian tombs depicting banquets, barbershops and cobblers of Pompeii mosaics, medieval illuminated manuscripts illustrating scenes of everyday peasant life, Flemish baroque and Dutch Golden Age paintings, Caravage, Courbet, Ingres, Repin or more recently Ernie Barnes.

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