There is a today little known genre of late 19th century painting that probably deserve to have an article written about them (not that I keep up with Art History Journals). To judge from the artists’ names it was mostly popular in France, but there are also Spaniards and Germans (and thanks to Benicek we know one them ended up in an recent English auction).
The genre consists of pictures of Clergy (especially Cardinals and even the Pope in one instance) seen in vaguely ridiculous and compromising positions, such as Chased up a Tree when trying to picnic in a bull’s field or playing cards in bright red regalia . Many of them turn on the incredible waste of wealth, such as a fat cardinal dieting in the midst of a banquet among the poverty of 19th century Europe, or another feeding to swans a plate of cakes whose cost could probably have provided bread a whole shift of sweat-shop child. At least one suggests an uncomfortable homosexual desire on the part of a Cardinal for a novice.
Most of the examples are original paintings so they would have been reasonably expensive to acquire themselves, suggesting the social status of the audience for this genre. However, the collection also includes 2 postcards, suggesting that it appreciation was also more widespread.
The example below is today owned by the owner of the ARC website who of course lauds it as a perfect example of realism; in his extensive writings about it he seems oblivious to its ironic intent.
Here are 20 more:http://picasaweb.google.com/Anebo10/VibertEtc