THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT

H

OVERVIEW

Fuseli (1741-1825)
Goya (1746-1828)
Watteau (1758-1823)
Casper David Friedrich (1774-1840)
Delacroix (1798-1863)
Victor Hugo (1802-85)
Chasseriau (1819-56)
Rodolphe Bresdin (1822-85)
Gustave Dore (1832-83)
Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904)

Chief characteristics: importance given to sensibility, imagination, and fantasy as against reason and order; replacement of the Greco-Roman ideal for the Middle Ages; values that were national and Christian, even primitive; and a return to "real" nature.2

Name derives from the late-eighteenth century vogue for medieval tales called "romances" because they written in a Romance language, not Latin.

An emotional response to the established social order and religion which coincided with the rationalism of the Enlightenment. Renaissance of Gothic.

Rousseau's La Nouvelle Heloise (1761) was a key work that launched the Romantic Movement.1

Piranesi's (1720-1780) engravings Prisons, published 1750 showed an "unbridled imagination".2

A vague notion of the primitive, associated with pre-classical Etruscan and Middle Age art, united early, contradictory expressions of R.2 (see Literary)

IN GERMANY

The Nazarene Painters: Peter Cornelius and Johann Friedrich Overbeck, R with Neo-Classical trappings. Members of the group from throughout Germany settled at the monastery of S. Isidoro in Rome in 1810 to devote their lives to art and religion. Biblical paintings at the Casa Bartholdi and at the Villa Massimi the great Italian poets. Their naivete imitated Raphael and Perugino in its fundamentally graphic and classical manner with little emphasis on color.

This applies also to minor provincial painters: Philipp Otto Runge and Erwin Speckter who drew from Pompeian murals. Note Ludwig Richter, Alfred Rethel, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld and Moritz von Schwind.

Casper David Friedrich (1774-1840) tragic and literary subject matter, cold style landscape painting. lunar, mountain summits, Gothic ruins, snowy clearings: original.

Lists architects and engravers who contributed to the renaissance of the Gothic style. However the popular Biedermeier style of painting and decoration remained the primary bourgeois mode.

IN ENGLAND

Leading country of the rebirth of Gothic. Systematic study of medieval cathedrals in England and beyond, founding the first antiquarian societies. Horace Walpole began a trend in 1850 when he "Gothicized" his home in Strawberry Hill, Twickenham leading to the Guildhall (1787) in London by George Dance. Note the Houses of Parliament begun in 1840 on the designs of Charles Barry and A.W.N. Pugin.

"Nowhere were the traditions of Vn Dyck and the Flemings so well maintained as in England wheree a direct line can be traced from Gainsborough's landscapes through  Rubens."2

William Blake (1757-1827) and Henry Fuseli (Zurich 1741-1825) represented the visionary and fantastic. Blake (a precursor), a poet, began engraving his drawings for the Bible and the Divine Comedy in 1787. They met in 1782. Fuseli appointed a teaching post at the Royal Academy in 1799.

Note William Hogarth's Shrimp Girl, National Gallery London with its "freshly colored flesh tints, impregnated with light, (which) have been brushed broadly onto the cheeks".2 The art of watercolor at the time (note Robert Cozens, Thomas Girtin, and John Sell Cotman) lightened the palette of oil painters. Influenced Bonington's delicate landscapes. Turner (1775-1851) with his travels to France and the British Isles added veils of light to the water color. John Crome's Norfolk landscapes.

John Constable (1776-1837) had a luminosity which dazzled Delacroix (1798-1863) and inspired the landscape school.

SEE ALSO Pre-Raphaelites.

IN FRANCE

Gothic style of the royal chapel at Dreux begun 1816 by Lefranc. Romanticism came later in France. The end of the 18th century: "troubadour" style, patriotic tragedies and Gothic buildings set in fashionably laid out parks. This more of a Rococo manifestation. After the Revolution and the Empire, royalist tastes were still more inclined toward the Middle Ages and knight errantry. Louis David's grip on the Neo-Classical school.

Baron Gros's Napoleon Visiting the Plague-Stricken at Jaffa (1804, Louvre) and Napoleon on the Battlefield of Eylau (1808 Louvre). He declared his admiration for Rubens. Was trounced by David and committed suicide.

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), a student of David, painted medival subjects in some of his small historical paintings, but fundamentally remained a Neoclassicist.

Gericault (1791-1824) effected a more permanent revolution. Classical training apparent in his nudes and pen and ink drawings, but his Michelangelesque draftsmanship in the Raft of the Medusa won victory for R.

Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863) the leader of French Romanticism. "He stood at the confluence of all French Romantic currents: he took the palette of Rubens from Gros, the lightness and freshness of English coloring from his friend Bonington, and tried to discover the secret of Constable's scintillating light, as he painted the voluptuousness of flesh and dreamed of the Orient and medieval chivalry." However his classical tastes show in his love for Mozart and dislike for Beethoven.

Honore Daumier (1808-1879): Balzac compared his intensity and feeling, and his style of draftmanship to Michelangelo's. Maybe should be classed with the Realists whom followed him.

Theodore Chasseriau (1819-1856), a pupil of Ingres, had a fascination for the East and displayed a warm light and strange poetry in his paintings.

Sculpture by Gericault, Daumier, Francois Rude, Antoine Barye, and Antoine Preault.

IN SPAIN

Francisco de Goya's (1746-1828) paintings and engravings "show the sinister reverse of the Napoleonic epic. A prototype of the Romantics in his individualism and rebellion against his surroundings. Series of engravings Caprichos before the end of the century show that he was "haunted by the monsters engendered by the 'sleep of reason'. He was in Rome during Neo-Classicism's height (possibly met David there), his portraits derive from the English school.2

IN LITERATURE

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe championed the primitives style in the Boisseree Collection of 1814.

James Macpherson, known as Ossian, pseudobardic poetry, "vied with Dante and the ancient gods in the drawings of Asmus Carstens.

IN MUSIC

The Romantic Period was approximately 1790-1910. In the second half of the 19th century, all art that flourished in Europe. Emotive and intuitive outlook against the controlled and rational approach of Classical. The fanciful or improbable.

Maurice Ravel born Cibourne, Basses Pyreness March 7, 1875 died Paris Dec 28, 1937.

 

SOURCES

1)    The European Philosophers From Descartes to Nietzsche, Ed. Monroe C. Beardsley. The Modern Library Edition 1992, New York. 1992. Copyright 1960 Random House.
2)    Praeger Encyclopedia of Art Luc-Reinhardt. Praeger Publishers, 1971.
3)    History of Art, H.W. Janson, Fourth Edition, Revised and expanded by Anthony F. Janson. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1991. First Edition 1962.