19Th Century Art Essay, Research Paper
19th Century Art
The Romantic Movement
Art as Emotion
The goal of self-determination that Napoleon imported to Holland, Italy,
Germany and Austria affected not only nations but also individuals. England’s
metamorphosis during the Industrial Revolution was also reflected in the
outlook of the individual, and therefore in the art produced during the first half
of this century. Heightened sensibility and intensified feeling became
characteristic of the visual arts as well as musical arts and a convention in
Romanticism in Landscape
This tendency toward images of impassioned or poignant feeling cut across all
national boundaries. Romanticism, as this movement became known, reflects the
movement of writers, musicians, painters, and sculptors away from rationalism
toward the more subjective side of human experience. Feeling became both the
subject and object of art.
Conscious of being propelled into the future, Europe began to take a long and
wistful look at the past and embarked on a series of revivals. Classicism,
which had gone in and out of style at regular intervals, was joined with revivals
of Gothic art, Egyptian art, and the art of the Renaissance.
The Classical Tradition
By the mid-nineteenth century,much of Europe had become industrialized, and the generation of artists who had inaugurated the Romantic movement were dead.
But much of the romantic spirit lived on. In their emphasis on individual genius and subjective experience, arts of the Romantic era handed future generations the
basis for their own developement and provided a point of view that coloured their understanding of the past.
Characteristics of Romanticism
Resulting in part from the libertarian and egalitarian ideals of the French Revolution, the romantic movements had in common only a revolt against the prescribed rules of classicism. The basic aims of romanticism were various: a return to nature and to belief in the goodness of humanity; the rediscovery of the artist as a supremely individual creator; the development of nationalistic pride; and the exaltation of the senses and emotions over reason and intellect. In addition, romanticism was a philosophical revolt against rationalism.
Romanticism in the Visual Arts
In the visual arts romanticism is used to refer loosely to a trend that appears at any time, and specifically to the art of the early 19th cent. Nineteenth-century romanticism was characterized by the avoidance of classical forms and rules, emphasis on the
emotional and spiritual, representation of the unattainable ideal,nostalgia for the grace of past ages, and a predilection for exotic themes.
Romantic artists developed precise techniques in order to produce specific associations in the mind of the viewer. To convey verbal concepts they would, for example, endow inanimate objects with human values (e.g., the wild trees and shimmery moonlight used in the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich to suggest an infinity of human longing, the weltschmerz of his time). The result was often sentimental or ludicrous. In the case of Delacroix, however, his painterly style and color sense exalted the romantic attitude in a singularly effective fashion.
In England landscape gardening was used to express the
romantic aesthetic by means of deliberate imitation of the
picturesque in nature. In architecture Wyatt’s preposterous,
mock medieval Fonthill Abbey displayed the romantic building
style in extreme form. The host of lesser artists of the romantic
tradition included the French G?ricault, the Swiss-English Henry
Fuseli, the Swiss Arnold B?cklin, the English Pre-Raphaelites, the
German Nazarenes, and the American artists of the Hudson