And how did the Industrial Revolution effect painting and painters? Well, among other things, it brought a new clientele to the painting market and a new awareness of the daily lives of those who now, thanks to the machine age, could afford the time and money to collect art. Artists like Gustave Courbet devoted a lifetime to portraying these people, and in so doing opened up a new avenue of subject matter, portraying peasants, workers, merchants, and other contemporary individuals in a serious spirit.
Without really meaning to, he started a war. Noble ideals and flights of fancy were pitted against an old man and his young helper breaking up stones as in his Stone Breakers of 1849. History painting, became anecodotal. Religious painting became introspective. Mythological painting gave way to Romanticism, landscapes became geographically identifiable, still-life painting eschewed elegance in favor of humble elements of daily life. Paintings shrank. No middle-class homes had room for wall-size canvases. Art was no longer "GRAND" but approachable.