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The Enlightenment

  • Date Submitted: 08/13/2012 02:20 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 43.4 
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If the Enlightenment was a movement which started among tiny elite and slowly spread to make its influence felt throughout society, Romanticism was more widespread both in its origins and influence. No other intellectual/artistic movement has had comparable variety, reach, and staying power since the end of the Middle Ages. Beginning in Germany and England in the 1770s, by the 1820s it had swept through Europe, conquering at last even its most stubborn foe, the French. Beginning in the last decades of the 18th century, it transformed poetry, the novel, drama, painting, sculpture, all forms of concert music (especially opera), and ballet. It was deeply connected with the politics of the time, echoing people's fears, hopes, and aspirations. It was the voice of revolution at the beginning of the 19th century and the voice of the Establishment at the end of it. Three major leading artists of Romanticism are Eugène Delacroix, Théodore Géricault, and William Turner.
Romantic painting was characterized by emotionalism and fascination with the exotic. Some principles of Romanticism are that the emphasis is on feelings, especially on personal feelings rather than the general or community feelings. Another emphasis is on emotion rather than reason. Romantic artists had the love of the exotic and fantastic. They explored the extremes, dream worlds were invented. Dreams were commonly the source of inspiration. Mystical attachment to the world is what Romantic painters had. Landscapes and seascapes is what painters turned to; featured were natural phenomena and storms. They focused on real nature rather than enlightenment. Romantic style emphasized spirit and color detachment and line. Unlike classicism or the baroque, romanticism has no definable standards. Indeed rejection of rules is almost a touchstone of the romantic temperament.

A great artist from the Romantic Movement was Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix, a French painter and draftsman. Born on April 26, 1798,...

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