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Characteristics Of Romanticism In The History Of Art.

1274 words - 5 pages

Characteristics of Romanticism in the History of Art.

To characterise Romanticism within the fine arts one must
consider the historical background from which this movement
manifested, as it plays such an influential role in the Romantic
artist's development of subject matter and style. The movement itself
began around the beginning of the 19th century, and is often dated
1775 – 1830 it is important to note that this was a period of change
and revolution in human rights, and the main countries this movement
manifested in were Germany, Britain and in France during the French
Revolution of 1789. This political and cultural revolution had a major
affect on all of the arts as well as the visual arts; as artists began
to revolt against Neo-Classical and academic traditions and look
inwards into their own experience and imagination. Imagination is one
of the most prominent themes in the Romantic Movement as artists began
to direct their attention towards subjects other than the rigid
definitions of genres within the academic world of painting, and also
to the simplicity of the Medieval artists. Instead, artists turned to
literature (especially poetry), political and historical events as
well as individual and imaginative styles of depicting this subject
matter. This essay will aim to highlight and describe the
manifestation of these themes, within this period, through the
observation of the artist's work that is linked to the Movement.

The artists of the Romantic Movement, as suggested, no longer
wanted to be constrained to the proscribed theories and practices of
the Academies; who thought that everything that needed to be learned
could be done so by observing the Roman Masters, and wished to create
their own imaginative responses equalizing them with the authors and
poets of the Romantic Literary Movement. One form of imaginative
response, which manifested in this change of thinking about the visual
arts, was the way in which many of these artists looked towards
literature for inspiration; in effect creating paintings that depicted
a new manner of pictorial narrating. One artist who combined these
themes of literature and the visual arts, producing visions in the
vein of poetic imagery was William Blake (1757-1827). These
connections are especially distinct in paintings such as "The Ancient
of Days" completed in 1794 as a visual image complementing his poem
"America, a Prophecy", which depicts one of Blake's own visions of the
Lord measuring the world with a compass. As well as the literary
elements and pure imagination, which inspired his subject matter,
Blake's portrayal has many other features that link it to the Romantic
mood. For example, and most stunningly, Blake's use of vivid, exotic
reds, oranges and yellows contrasted with the blacks and grays of the
threatening and ominous storm clouds used to display Natures ferocity
and supremacy over mankind. Another characteristic that featured in
Blake's...

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