Romanticism and Realism in the Arts
Romanticism and Realism were two forms of art that came into existence in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Both formed as a resistance to traditional standards and in response to a time of war and revolution. Both Romanticism and Realism are prevalent in works of art to this day. This is where the similarities of the two art forms end. So how can two opposing literary movements overlap time periods yet be so different in style?
Romanticism started in the late eighteenth century and continued into the second half of the nineteenth century. Three people have been credited with starting the Romantic Era. Some say it started 1798 when Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth published the Lyrical Ballads, poems written in the common dialect for commoners. Others credit Jean Jacques Rousseau as the father of the Romantic movement with the publication of Julie or the New Heloise in 1761.
Romanticism formed in part as a revolt against the political and societal norms in art and in direct resistance to the Age of Enlightenment. It was also highly influenced by the wars of the time including the French and Indian War (1756-1763), the American Revolution (1775-1783) and the French Revolution (1789-1799). These wars caused upheavals in social and political traditions fueling the Romantic Era. The artists during this period strove to prove that art could and should be enjoyed by all, not just the upper-class as in prior eras. The works of art reflect the connection the artist was trying to make with the general population.
Although the Romantic Era is hard to define artistically, there are some common characteristics of the Era’s works of art. The general rule was that there are no rules in art. They dealt more with emotions, a love of nature, exotic locations, nationalism and the mysterious. Romantic era literature and paintings told tales of strange creatures, the supernatural, mysterious...
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