Art, Artists, Influencing Me, Painting, Photography

Influencing Me – The Romantics

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.

Webmeia-gainsboroughI 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 StubbsFrancisco de Goya, Eugene DelacroixWilliam BlakeCaspar David FriedrichJoseph 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.

932px-Marguerite_Gérard_-_The_first_stepsSo 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,[1] 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.[2] It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography,[3] education[4] and the natural sciences.[5] 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.

A_Lion_Attacking_a_Horse_by_George_Stubbs_1770I 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.


  1. oh these are fantastic! I love this type of painting! Nothing like it has come again, sad.

    • They are fantastic, I don’t know that I would say there has been nothing like it since, I think there has, but you really have to go looking for it. We tend not to value artists who work like this anymore. That is really sad.

  2. Romanticism is a cool time period for art. I love the paintings; they’re so beautiful! Looking at art throughout history must be great inspiration for photography.

    • It is a cool period, so much great work there. I think the paintings are wonderful too. It is a great inspiration, I want people to have the same reaction to my work as what we have to those paintings.

      • No criticism intended Leanne, but I wouldn’t describe Marguerite Gérard (1761 – 1837) as definitively a Romantic painter. The work of many artists during the late 18th/early 19th century often combined aspects of Romanticism with a generally Neoclassial style, unlike that of unabashedly Romantic artists such as Gericualt, Delacroix, Girodet and Goya.

        Gérard was also influenced by the work of Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732 – 1806), the Late Rococo artist, of whom she was a student.

      • You are no doubt right Paul, I took it from Artcyclopedia which reckons she was one, so I don’t know. A lot of them were Rococo painters as well, I think that is what they were called. I think you would know more about this than me, it is interesting though I like looking at these artists. I find it hard to believe Goya as a Romantic artist, as I really only knew him from his prints of the Spanish war, and there is nothing romantic about them.
        I will have to look up some of those, thanks for this Paul, we must talk art one day.

    • Thank you Carol, they are pretty amazing paintings, I think more so in person. That is nice of you to say Carol, it is amazing where you find inspiration.

  3. karelslab says

    It’s been along time since I saw something of Delacroix. Almost forgot how out of our league he was, still amazed…

    • Well I did some, I wish I could say I did a lot, but I knew I only needed to do a little. I am glad you enjoyed the post.

  4. Great post Leanne. I’ve always been a fan of the Romantic painters as well. Turner is definitely a favorite along with the Hudson River School painters like Cole, Church and Durand. The placement of man in nature is of particular interest to me.

    • I know the more obvious ones, Gainsborough, Turner, Constable, but there are so many others. I will have to spend more time looking at them. I am learning about so many new painters, I love that. Great to hear who you like, I will have to check them out.

  5. Romanticism is a style that I like but cannot even get close to emulating – these are the images I linger at when I visit the Yale Museum for British Art. Thanks for the post!

    • It is an interesting movement, and I am not sure I want to emulate them, but I definitely know what you mean about lingering in front of them, I think I want to go and spend some time at the gallery.

  6. Great post Leanne! I love the Romantics too-I have recently rediscovered George Stubbs whose work I love-I can see where your own work is channeling the Romantics as well-

    • George Stubbs is fantastic. I must go and visit the gallery again and see what work we have here. It is interesting to see how your own work can be influenced by all these other people.

  7. Amazing art … the details in every painting, just like photos. William Turner is one of my favorite painters … because he have always given the true picture of the ocean and a sailors life. I’m a big fan of Rembrandt – I can look at the paints for hours just because of every little detail them. I can see in your photos lately, the portrait ones that you have a very strong romantic streak.
    This is a beautiful post, Leanne.

    • Turner does do a great depiction of the ocean and how fierce it can be. I am the same with them, I love looking at their work.

  8. I can definitely see the influence of this period on your work! I particularly enjoyed the work of Eugene Delacroix. :)

    • I think I do as well Chris, I think the Pre-Raphaelites are more dreamy or something, and more the sort of thing I want to do. It is good to see where their influences came from though.

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