Leisure

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Spanning virtually all time periods and cultural traditions, depictions of leisure have enjoyed varying degrees of popularity and veneration in art. Several artifacts from ancient Egypt depict royal subjects at leisure, while later, the more humanized divine subjects of Greek and Roman mythology were often depicted in scenes of leisure or play, notably on a number of Greek ceramics. Christian art focused mainly on historical subjects and pious narratives, and as such, scenes of ordinary people at leisure did not become common in the west again until the 17th and 18th centuries, as secular art gained a foothold. Leisure was a central focus of 18th-century Rococo painters such as Jean-Honoré Fragonard; the 19th century saw leisure presented in countless different ways, from Édouard Manet’s suggestive Luncheon on the Grass to Georges Seurat’s masterwork A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

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