This period was a watershed in the development of History Painting. By the end, due to the dull prescriptions of the academies and the semantic confusion between istoria and history, the genre became devalued. 'Death of General Wolfe' (1771) by Benjamin West (1738-1820) just about lived up to its billing as a History Painting, but 'The Execution of Lady Jane Grey' (1933) by Paul Delaroche (1797-1856) was no more than sentimental melodrama. Another poor example of History Painting is 'Watson and the Shark' (1778) by John Singleton Copley (1738-1815), which merely portrayed a terrible but ethically insignificant event. That said, John Copley's other works, like 'Death of Chatham', 'Death of Major Peirson', 'The Repulse of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar' and 'Admiral Duncan's Victory at Camperdown' comprise the greatest series of modern History Paintings executed in England in the eighteenth century. 'Death of Marat' by Jacques Louis David was another history canvas that lived up to the genre.
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35 Most Beautiful Oil Paintings from Top Artists around the world