One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A painter of sordid or distasteful subjects; = rhyparographer. Also occasionally: a painting of such a subject.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in John Evelyn (1620–1706), diarist and writer. From classical Latin rhyparographos painter of low or sordid subjects (Pliny) from ancient Greek ῥυπαρός filthy, dirty (from ῥύπος dirt, filth, of unknown origin + -αρος, extended form of -ρος, suffix forming adjectives) + -γραϕος. Compare French rhyparographe.
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