history painting

The term history painting was introduced in the 17th century to describe paintings with subject matter drawn from history, mythology, and the Bible. Because it could communicate moral concepts, history painting was considered the most elevated type of painting, placing it above still life, landscape, portraiture and genre painting. History paintings were often large in scale and included complex figural compositions. Web resource here.

Benjamin West. Agrippina Landing at Brundisium with the Ashes of Germanicus. Oil on canvas. 1768. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.