Honors American Literature
Art of Romanticism
Throughout time, art has recorded history, expressed inner thoughts, and displayed the experiences of all people. For instance, the era of American Romanticism showcases paintings that empathize on nature, create a new world, borrow sets from the past, and are able to find one’s own explanations to life itself. Paintings such as Twilight in the Wilderness, The Bard, Fra Hardanger, and American Progress all exhibit crucial qualities of Romanticism. In comparison, Casper David Friedrich’s piece Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, seamlessly captures the overall essence of the time period. The painting includes themes such as self expression, nature, and spirituality. Furthermore, by combining all of American Romanticism’s traits into one piece of artwork, Friedrich allowed future generations to better understand what romantics believed and thought.
Fra Hardanger, by Hans Gude fits into Romanticism art through the authors use of the ability to capture natural beauty in its purest state. On the other hand, the painting does not heed all romantic traits. For example, the piece contains a boat sailing in a lake, being followed by a curious pedestrian. Such action would be an insubordinate stunt during the time. American Romantics heavily believed that educated sophistication is damaging to society while youthful innocence indicated a virtuous lifestyle. Therefore, the man pursuing the boat can be seen as a symbol of maturation. Though Gude’s piece counteracts Romantic traits, Friedrich’s painting does not present any traces of artwork that express sophistication coming into play. Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog demonstrates the ideals of how one should live life ingenuously due to the solo man looking out onto a bland landscape with no distractions. Hence, Friedrich’s artwork proves to reign superior in showcasing Romanticism’s ideals that innocence becomes essential.
Valuing imagination, a paramount characteristic of American Romanticism, makes itself known in Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog. Moreover, romanticists witnessed reality as a sign of being vapid. Friedrich dug deep into his creative mind to construct a masterpiece in which the viewer observes the backside of a man looking out from the pinnacle of a mountain. The man allows viewers to see the visual from the author’s perspective and the environment around can be interpreted through one’s own imagination. On the other end of the spectrum, Thomas Jones’s The Bard exhibits no exertion of being mentally innovative. Specifically, the painting consists entirely around a bard, which is a historical figure. Additionally, the famous landmark Stonehenge makes an appearance in the backdrop, further proving the artist contributed no ingenuity and relied on fact to inspire his work. By contrasting how each of these paintings reflect the characteristic of imagination, one can conclude why Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog best exemplifies the...