One of my favorite art movements is Romanticism. This type of art flourished from 1800-1840, and it was inspired by the “dark ages” where “barbarianism, superstition,” “gothick, sublime”, and “miracles” were popular culture (Gardner, 2001. p.864). Romanticism started in “1770”, and it is still alive today; it has even inspired the soundtrack to the epic film Star Wars (Brians, 1998).
This movement was based on the idea that all that was artificial and false should be banned and honest emotion should prevail. This movement was so unique and interesting because it was about rebelling against the common values of society. Imagination and emotion was revered over reasoning and rules in this art movement. Individualism and creativity were highly valued during this time in art(Gardener, 2001). The heart was revered over the mind, and many preconceived ideas on art and beauty were thrown to the wind. It is interesting to note that Neoclassicism was happening before Romanticism, and it was a type of art based on rules and modeled after art from the Renaissance. It is intriguing to see the pattern of art movements, and I realize that the movement based on reason led to a movement based on imagination.
William Blake was an artist of the Romantic Movement that was appealing to me. He was said to be “inspired by dreams,” and his engraving titled Ancient of Days is beautiful and inspiring (Gardener, 2001, p. 865). The dramatic use of light and dark in the contrast of the bright yellows and orange of the sky and sun opposed to the dark brown and black of the background and landscape worked very well and added strong emotion to the piece. I also enjoyed the linear aspects of the light and stance of the figure. This piece embodied the Romantic style with its use of emotion and passion.
Henry Fuseli is another great artist from the Romanticism period. His painting The Nightmare embodies the work of the Romantic Movement. This painting depicts a woman sleeping or possibly dead with a demon crouched on top of her smiling; in this picture there is also a dark spirit of a horse or similar creature lingering in the shadows (Gardener, 2001). This painting suggests the idea of dreaming and the darkness of nightmares. Many of Fuseli’s paintings portray gargoyles and creatures of the night, and they have a dark almost menacing theme to them.
The Romantic Movement was an amazing and very inspiring movement in art. The raw use of imagery and emotion combined to leave the viewer in awe and wonderment. I love the humor and clever themes. Romanticism was a great time for art, and it is important to know and appreciate the work of many of the artists of this time.
Brians, P. (1998). Romanticism. Retrieved June 9, 2009, Web site: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/hum_303/romanticism.html
Gardner, H. (2001). Gardner’s art through the ages. Orlando, FL: Harcourt College Publishers.