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The Spirit of the Age (1790-1850) e A sense of a shared vision among the Romantics. e Early support of the French Revolution. e Reflected liberal ideas.

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Presentation on theme: "The Spirit of the Age (1790-1850) e A sense of a shared vision among the Romantics. e Early support of the French Revolution. e Reflected liberal ideas."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Spirit of the Age (1790-1850) e A sense of a shared vision among the Romantics. e Early support of the French Revolution. e Reflected liberal ideas – rights of man, abolition of slavery, dignity of the working class e Rise of the individual  alienation. e Dehumanization of industrialization.  Radical poetics / politics  an obsession with violent change.

3 Enlightenment Society is good, curbing violent impulses, keep order Civilization corrupts! Romanticism Early 19c A Growing Distrust of Reason e The essence of human experience is subjective and emotional. e Human knowledge is a puny thing compared to other great historical forces. e “Individual rights” are dangerous efforts at selfishness  the community is more important – the individual with rights needs to help support the collective good.

4  First, there were those who looked back on the past as a romantic period before people were commoditized and nature destroyed.  Second, there was a growing reaction against the Enlightenment, which emphasized science, empirical evidence, and rational thought above all.  Romantics challenged the idea that reason was the one path to truth. The mysteries of life could be uncovered with emotion, imagination, and intuition.  Nature was especially celebrated  Emphasized a life filled with deep feeling & spirituality the virtues to fight the dehumanizing effects of industrialization  Extolled the value of human beings, believed to have infinite, godlike potential.

5 The Romantic Movement e Began in the 1790s and peaked in the 1820s. e Mostly in Northern Europe, especially in Britain and Germany. e A reaction against classicism. e The “Romantic Hero:”  Greatest example was Lord Byron  Tremendously popular among the European reading public.  Youth imitated his haughtiness and rebelliousness.

6 Characteristics of Romanticism The Engaged & Enraged Artist:  The artist apart from society.  The artist as social critic/revolutionary. The Individual/ The Dreamer:  Individuals have unique, endless potential.

7 Characteristics of Romanticism The Supernatural: The romantics rejected materialism in pursuit of spiritual self- awareness. They yearned for the unknown and the unknowable - Ghosts, fairies, witches, demons.

8 Characteristics of Romanticism Glorification of Nature:  Peaceful, restorative qualities [an escape from industrialization and the dehumanization it creates].  Awesome, powerful, horrifying aspects of nature.  Indifferent to the fate of humans.  Overwhelming power of nature.

9 The themes with examples

10 Wandering Above the Sea of Fog Caspar David Friedrich, 1818

11 Lady Macbeth - Henry Fuseli, 1794


13 The Dreamer Gaspar David Friedrich, 1835

14 Solitary Tree Caspar David Friedrich, 1823


16 An Avalanche in the Alps Philip James de Loutherbourg, 1803

17 Shipwreck – Joseph Turner, 1805

18 The Eruption of Vesuvius - John Martin


20 Rain, Steam, and Speed Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1844

21 The Slave Ship Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1842

22 The Slave Ship (details)


24 Flatford Mill – John Constable, 1817

25 The Hay Wain - John Constable, 1821


27 Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Ground John Constable, 1825

28 Eldena Ruin Gaspar David Friedrich, 1825

29 British Houses of Parliament 1840-1865


31 Mad Woman With a Mania of Envy Theodore Gericault, 1822-1823

32 Stonehenge - John Constable, 1836

33 Nightmare (The Incubus) Henry Fuseli, 1781

34 Saturn Devours His Son Francisco Goya, 1819-1823


36 Liberty Leading the People Eug è ne Delacroix, 1830

37 Napoleon at the St. Bernard Pass David, 1803

38 The Shooting of May 3, 1808 Francisco Goya, 1815


40 The Sultan of Morocco and His Entourage Eug è ne Delacroix, 1845

41 Women of Algiers in Their Apartment Eug è ne Delacroix, 1834

42 The Turkish Bath Jean Auguste Ingres, 1852-1863


44 God as the Architect - William Blake, 1794

45 The Seventh Plague of Egypt John Martin, 1823

46 The Great Age of the Novel Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (1847) Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (1847) Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott (1819) Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (1862) The Three Musketeers – Alexander Dumas (1844) Frankenstein - Mary Shelley (1817) Dracula – Bramm Stoker (1897) Hugh Trevar - Thomas Holcroft (1794)

47 Other Romantic Writers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm - Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1814-1816) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Faust (1806-1832)

48 The Romantic Poets  Percy Byssche Shelley  Lord Byron (George Gordon)  Samuel Taylor Coleridge  William Wordsworth  John Keats  William Blake

49 The Political Implications e Romanticism could reinforce the greatest themes of political liberalism or political conservatism. e Contributed to growing nationalist movements.  The concepts of the Volk and the Volkgeist.  The uniqueness of cultures was emphasized.

50  Culture was no longer just aesthetic but also a means by which political views could be expressed and artists could take risks  Art was no longer just a reflection of society but also served as an agent for change in society.

51 The Romantic movement found a home in Germany…German nationalism, or Volkgeist, celebrated the accomplishments of early Germans. This helped to re-enforce a feeling of German Nationalism.


53 Over time, Romanticism merged with Nationalism…

54 And most of these “nationalists” were young men, students, searching for a better world and wanting to make a difference.

55 An example - Gericault’s painting, Raft of the Medusa, 1819 depicted a group of passengers who were left on a raft by the crew of a sinking ship. This Romantic painting was meant to depict the government deserting the needs of the people. But the people will prevail

56 Bibliographic Sources   CGFA: A Virtual Art Museum.  “Romanticism” on Artchive.

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