History painting had traditionally occupied the top rank in the hierarchy of the art genres, and for centuries it had held a near monopoly on the visual mediation of historical events. Its rules and rhetoric were not easily mastered, though, and the execution of battle compositions according to academic standards was a laborious and expensive matter which, during the Crimean War, put painters at a competitive disadvantage with the fast, cheap reportage media. 403 The “acceleration of history” forced painters to work faster – or to be patient. All battle art did not have to be topical in a journalistic sense; when press or lithographic illustrations of a feat of arms had long been forgotten, a well conceived painted rendition of the same event could still make an authoritative statement, uncontested by lowbrow competition. The impact of history painting grew with the passage of time — but not every artist realized it.