Romantic or Real
Romanticism cannot be identified with a single style, technique, or attitude, but romantic painting is generally characterized by a highly imaginative and subjective approach, emotional intensity, and a dreamlike or visionary quality. Romantic art characteristically strives to express by suggestion, states of feeling too intense, mystical, or elusive to be clearly defined. Realism, on the other hand, is an attempt to describe human behavior and surroundings or to represent figures and objects exactly as they act or appear in life. Attempts at realism have been made periodically throughout history in all the arts; the term is, however, generally restricted to a movement that began in the mid-19th century, in reaction to the highly subjective approach of romanticism. The works of John Constable and Honoré Daumier show the great differences in Romantic characteristics and Realist characteristics, both with the subjects they painted and the styles that they used to paint.
John Constable was an English painter who was known for his landscape painting in the romantic style (Encarta). Constable was a leader in presenting an idealized image of rural life and nature. He infused quiet English landscapes with profound feeling. Constable's "The Hay Wain" is a countryside scene. It helped to add features to the romantic motifs, such as streams, country cottages, and farmland scenes (Matthews and Platt 465). One could almost hear the wind blowing through the trees and sound of running water. The visionary or dreamlike quality is portrayed in this painting with the use of natural coloring and lighting. He was known to focus on the intangible qualities, like the conditions of light, sky and atmosphere, than with the concrete details of a scene. He achieved a freshness of vision through the use of luminous colors and bold, thick brushwork. With the play of individual imagination, Constable gave expression to emotion and mood.
Honoré Daumier was a French...
Cited: "Constable, John " and "Daumier, Honoré." Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2001. 1997-2001 Microsoft Corporation. .
Matthews, Roy T., and F. DeWitt Platt. The Western Humanities. 4th ed. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield, 2001.
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