Sounds like a rock band or something, but I am referring to another group of painters/artists. Romanticism, according to the ARTCYCLOPEDIA, “might best be described as anticlassicism. A reaction against Neoclassicism, it is a deeply-felt style which is individualistic, exotic, beautiful and emotionally wrought.” I think it is the last part that is more important here. The part that we can all relate to.
I have to admit, when I thought of doing this post, I really had no comprehension of how involved and how influential it really was. I read somewhere that the Pre-Raphaelites were influenced by Romanticism, and since I have been looking at it a lot lately, then I thought it might be good to go back further. I had no idea what I was getting myself in for.
I also had no real idea of who the artists were and who I would find. When I went to the ARTCYCLOPEDIA to look up the movement, I was blown away by who some of the artists were. They are names most people who love art are familiar with, Thomas Gainsborough (painting above), George Stubbs, Francisco de Goya, Eugene Delacroix, William Blake, Caspar David Friedrich, Joseph Mallord William Turner, and John Constable. I don’t know about you, but they are all artists that I am familiar with, have seen their work at exhibitions, and most of us, I am sure, love their work. There is one name I haven’t mentioned, the only woman I found, Marguerite Gerard (painting below). How wonderful to find a woman painting at that time.
So what was the movement? According to Wikipedia “Romanticism (also the Romantic era or the Romantic period) was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, it was also a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education and the natural sciences. Its effect on politics was considerable and complex; while for much of the peak Romantic period it was associated with liberalism and radicalism, in the long term its effect on the growth of nationalism was probably more significant.”
I am only giving you small sections of this, I would recommend you go to Wikipedia if you want to find out more.
Nature is very important and what nature can do, especially when you look at Turner’s work. I find his portrayal of the ocean so powerful. Of course, it is much easier for us to get images like this these days, just take a photo. Imagine how much harder it would have been for Turner, he had to work from his memory a lot. It is just amazing.
I am sure most of you have seen either this image, or like images by George Stubbs. Our gallery here, the National Gallery of Victoria, has a painting of it as well, here is a link to the image, A Lion Attacking the Horse.
There is a lot of emotion in these images, not all, but many do evoke some sort of emotion in those of us who are looking at them. They ask you to react to them. I love images that do that, it is drama in images, almost like stills from the theatre of life. It really is something I want to get more into my own work and something I am working on.
I have a gallery of images for you, the artists name should be in each file name, though I might put the artists name under each.