The Romantic Movement

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The Romantic Movement (1800-1850) 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 literature. Exposing Rationalism 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.

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