Getting to Know the Flow of Romanticism and Examples of Romanticism’s Works

The school of Romanticism is one of the schools of fine art which seeks to present a beautiful and fantastic painting. Generally, Romanticism will describe something that is romantic in nature, such as history, tragedy, or natural scenery and presents a fantastic painting. This flow of art was very famous throughout the world in the 18th to 19th centuries and became an important part of the culture of European society and Western society.

To understand more deeply about the flow of Romanticism, in this article we will discuss it more deeply. Check out the information below.

Definition of Romanticism

Romanticism is a movement or school of art that focuses a work on emotion as well as glorious achievements in the past and natural beauty that tends to be dramatic and theatrical. The flow of Romanticism focuses on strong personal emotions as an authentic source of aesthetic experience and awe experienced in the face of a historical or grand experience and the aesthetic beauty of nature.

The term Roman has the meaning of human greatness, the conquest of foreign nations or colonizers, human achievements, which are displayed dramatically. So that is certainly different from Romance which focuses more on love. Romance is more focused on a human achievement. The word Romanticism was first used in Germany in the 1770s by art critics, namely August and Friedrich who wrote a critical book entitled “Romantische Poesie” or Romantic Poetry.

According to Isaiah Berlin in his book entitled “The Roots of Romanticism”, explains that Romanticism is a new spirit and anxiety, preoccupation with the ever-changing state of inner consciousness, unlimited and undefined longing for a movement and eternal change.

The Romanticism school is one of the schools that emphasizes emotional elements in a work by building a dramatic, theatrical image, and a dream-like atmosphere. Romanticism really emphasizes emotion, imagination, and also the idea of ​​returning to the inevitability of history and nature. Not only that, Romanticism has also become a form of resistance to neoclassical art which is bound by norms, always balanced but static. The movement also attempted to reverse social conventions, especially for the position of the aristocrats who existed at that time.


Why is it called Romanticism?

The movement or flow of Romanticism comes from the basic word “Roman”. So, Romanticism means romantic things. Romance is a word from classical literature that tells about human greatness, human achievement, and the conquest of colonialists which are displayed dramatically. In the field of Indonesian literature, this school is also known as the romantic school. This is to distinguish it from romantic terms.

Sometimes, most people call this flow the term Romanticism (from romantic). However, this is incorrect because the two terms have different meanings. Although they are similar, in fact the two words have nothing in common at all. Therefore, the most appropriate term to refer to this flow is the word Romanticism or Romanticism, not Romanticism.

History of Romanticism

The term Romanticism comes from the French, namely Roman which means story. It is true, in style Romanticism reflects the influence of French romantic literature. Particularly in describing stories about terrible tragedies, dramatic and gripping events. Romanticism is an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Western Europe in the 18th century during the Industrial Revolution. Part of this school was a revolution against the nobility, political and social norms of the Enlightenment period and a reaction against the rationalization of nature in literature and art. The movement emphasizes strong emotions as a source of aesthetic experiences, macabre, and amazement with what one experiences when one encounters sublime nature.

Romanticism has actually been preceded by several similar streams in the mid-18th century which can be called the era of Pre-Romanticism. In this era there was a new appreciation of romance in the Middle Ages, where Romanticism finally got its name. But among these “Romantic” trends, there are some arts that focus more on stories or stories of knight adventures that focus on individual heroism and on the mysterious and exotic.

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The history of the emergence of Romanticism was influenced by the industrial revolution which began to leave the natural world and was also destructive to the environment. There are lots of artists who reject industrialization practices that are considered to pay little attention to the negative impacts they have on the natural surroundings. Even though it has not been categorized as modern art, the Romanticism school has fought against the classical art movements that were already established before. Romanticism has also begun to explore aesthetic forms that do not only look for the beauty of an object. But Romanticism seeks to explore the sublime noble value of a subject, as a substitute for beauty as well as physical beauty.

In addition, Romanticism was a movement that continued Neoclassicism, but at the same time reacted and opposed classicism. The pioneer of the Romanticism school, Theodore Gericault, through one of his very famous works, the Medusa Raft. Then later, the Romanticism school remained an art movement that ran away from the reality of life, namely working on an ideal and also mysterious world by using rational academic techniques.

The presence of the Romanticism school is against the neoclassicism art flow that has existed for decades in France. Followers of Romanticism opposed Neoclassicism for a variety of reasons, including:

a. Neoclassical is too rational in the work
b. Neoclassical presents the theme of classical stories as a mirror of aristocratic life
c. Neoclassical does not show the role of the personal element

While the flow of Romanticism is just the opposite, namely:

a. Work through an emotional approach
b. Presents more themes of mystery world life stories, romance stories, and also exotic themes such as stories from China, Islam, and Africa
c. More highlighting the role of personal feelings of an artist, for example in terms of dynamic composition and color elements with dramatized dark and light.


Characteristics of Romanticism

Romanticism cannot be identified with a single technique, style and attitude, but has a common characteristic. The following are some of the characteristics of the flow of Romanticism, among others:

a. Imaginative: Although they are still realistic or non-fantasy, the scenes in Romanticism’s works tend to look more theatrical and not everyday scenes. To create a scene like that, it takes high imagination.
b. Subjective: The creation of works of art is considered as a self-expression of an artist.
c. Using a fairly high emotional intensity.
d. The atmosphere and imagery have a dreamlike quality.
e. Describe strong feelings and not be literal or use symbols and imagery.

Types of Romanticism

The following are types of Romanticism that are important to understand:

a. Romantic Literary Arts

Romanticism in literary works often uses recurring themes regarding themes of revival or criticism of the past, the cult of “sensibility” with an emphasis on women and children, the isolation of narrators or artists, respect for nature, and supernatural elements. Romantic literature tends to be personal, intense, and expresses more emotion than has been seen in some of the literature that emerges in classical or neoclassical literature.

Below are some of the authors of the Romanticism wing, namely:

Edgar Allan Poe
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Victor Hugo
William Wordsworth
Mary Shelley

b. Romantic Art

In the field of fine arts, Romanticism first appeared in a landscape painting in the 1760s. At that time, artists from England began to switch to Gothic-themed landscapes and architecture. Many Romantic artists used religious and supernatural themes as the objects of their paintings, as did the famous painter and writer William Blake.

Figures of Romanticism and Their Works and Analysis

The following are some influential figures in the development of Romanticism along with examples of their work and analysis.

1. Francisco Goya

Francisco Goya was a Romanticist artist who came from Spain and was considered the most important in the late 18th century. Throughout his career, Goya has perpetuated history through his paintings. Goya is often called the last of the Old Masters and the first of the modern painters. Apart from often painting history, he also often paints portraits with contemporary nuances, which means he has left the tradition of the neoclassical school.

Example of a Romanticism Painting The Second of May 1808 and Its Analysis

The painting above is an example of a historical event described by Francisco Goya. By this time, Goya had personally witnessed the French occupation of Spain in 1808. His attempt to overthrow the Spanish empire from Madrid sparked a widespread rebellion. The rebellion took place from 1 to 2 May 1808. Finally, Goya immortalized the tragedy through a painting which he did not witness directly. Goya only learned this information through the speech of other people, then described it with the imagination that was in his mind. This painting is an example of how romantic artists worked with high imagination and depicted it in a dramatic way through a fierce battle scene.

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2. JMW Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner is an English artist known for his expressive coloring techniques, imaginative scenery, and dramatic drawings. So it can be easily understood that he is an artist who is a Romanticist. Turner’s most widely known painting is a seascape. JMW Turner is an artist born in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London. He comes from a fairly simple lower middle class family. Turner lived in London all his life, retaining his country accent and remaining humble in his popular days.

Turner himself had studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1789. While studying there, he also held a position as a teacher of architectural drawings or drafters. Tuner then opened his own gallery in 1804 and became a professor at the Royal Academy in 1807, then taught until 1828. He loved to travel around Europe from 1802 and came home with many sketches of the landscapes he saw along the way.

Examples of Fishermen at Sea Romanticism and Its Analysis

The above painting is the first painting exhibited by Turner at the Royal Academy. The moonlit view was one of the trendsetters for night views in the 18th century. The contrasting moonlight could not be matched by the flickering light of the lanterns. In this painting, Turner seems to want to emphasize that the power possessed by nature cannot be matched by humans.

The waves that look restless give more tension to the atmosphere in the painting. Not only that, in the background of the painting there is also a silhouette of a rock that was feared by the fishermen at that time, because the rock is very dangerous and often kills people, especially in settings at dark nights.

3. Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich was a German romantic landscape painter in the 19th century. Friedrich was one of the most influential German painters of his time. He is also the most important figure in the history of Romanticism. Not only that, Friedrich is also famous for his works of allegorical or universally symbolic landscape paintings, such as fables, animal stories that symbolize human behavior. Friedrich’s paintings generally present a contemplative figure in a landscape facing morning mist, dark night, barren trees and ancient ruins.

Friedrich’s main interest was contemplation of the natural world. His often symbolic work seeks to convey subjective and emotional responses to nature. Generally, Friedrich’s paintings will place the human presence in a small perspective in the middle of a large scene. According to historian Christopher Murray, this perspective directs the audience’s view of their metaphysical dimension.

Examples of Wanderer above a Sea of ​​Fog Romanticism and Its Analysis

Wanderer above a Sea of ​​Fog presents a man holding a staff, standing on the rocks directly overlooking a stretch of rocky and misty hill. The man’s hair was blowing in the wind in front of a sky full of white clouds and indistinguishable from mist. Then the background of the painting is also very foggy and makes the mountain behind it almost invisible.

Friedrich describes the landscape he painted as a sea of ​​mist. This is an example of the romanticist artist’s style of thinking, who always uses symbolism and imagery in each of his paintings.

The painting above can produce an interpretation as follows:

Humans are creatures that are nothing compared to the natural world which is vast and full of mysteries as depicted in the painting of the sea of ​​fog above. However, that doesn’t stop humans from exploring the world with all the ingenuity they have (wearing warm clothes and sticks). Although many obstacles are visible everywhere. When man contemplates the vast sea of ​​fog that is in front of him, he does not know what lies ahead. We cannot predict all of that, humans can only see small clues that are behind the fog.