(genre 1 syl.). A painter of domestic, rural, or village scenes, such as A Village Wedding, The Young Recruit, Blind Man's Buff, The Village Politician, etc. It is a French term, and means, “Man: his customs, habits, and ways of life.” Wilkie, Ostade, Gerard Dow, etc., belonged to this class. In the drama, Victor Hugo introduced the genre system in lieu of the stilted, unnatural style of Louis XIV.'s era.
“We call those `genre' canvases, whereon are painted idyls of the fireside, the roadside, and the farm; pictures of real life.” —E. C. Stedman: Poets of America, chap. iv. p. 98.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894