Romanticism and Realism: Two Contrasting Periods in Literature and Art History

Category: Romanticism
Last Updated: 31 Mar 2023
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Literature, Arts and the Humanities Romanticism and Realism 02-01-2010 Romanticism and Realism are two very different periods in literary and art history. Although both periods completely disagreed with each other they were a result of the social and economic revolt. Romanticism was an artistic, literary and social movement that originated in the second half of the eighteenth century in Western Europe. The French revolution laid the background for this era as people wanted to get an escape from the confines of daily life.

This late era gained momentum in reaction to the Industrial Revolution. Many revolted against higher society and the political aspect of the time. The movement put a new outlook on difficult emotions such as fear and terror. Romanticism was known as a new revival of the medievalism as certain elements of the era are seen as a way to escape the new bustling world and ever populating cities in Europe. This era also attempted to embrace the exotic and the unfamiliar by using the imagination to escape. Although Romanticism began in Germany its effects were seen through the world.

This influential era reached America in the early nineteenth century and was just as diverse as the movement that was quickly transitioning in the Western Europe. A modern characteristic of romanticism could be considered misunderstood and anything that may differentiate from the trends of life. Many scholars have different opinions on the characteristics of Romanticism as some believe it is a beginning of a tradition of resistance to the enlightenment and other believe it is a direct result of the French Revolution.

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Charles Baudelaire was quoted as characterizing romanticism as “precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor exact truth but in the way of feeling” This era emphasized intuition and imagination that has led many to believe that romantic thinking is simply irrational and crosses the line of what is acceptable thinking in and of the world during this era. In art most found a recurring theme from criticism of the past. Often artist would use woman and children in their works to depict the new pure nature. A famous artist from the Romanticism period named Thomas Cole epicted a Man’s journey through life in his “Voyage through Life” series. This exceptional expression of art shows a struggle of survival through an immense nature, from birth to death. The realism period made its mark in history from 1830 to 1870. Realism’s main principle was considered to be more of a way of thinking instead of a movement that involved a large culture. Realism went against everything Classicism and Romanticism had so strongly emphasized accusing the movement of being blind to the real world and not depicting the beauty in everyday life.

This late 19th century movement took all of the elements that could falsify or bring a cloudy view to the true life hardships and successes out of art to show the beauty of real life Realism came to France in the late 1840’s with democracy in mind. The English focused realism on social liberation of the middle and lower class by taking a stand against materialistic views from the Royal Academy. Artist during the realism period focused on optic effects and lighting and how it affected everyday life. Artist believed that Science held the key to solving the problems that every day life brought fourth.

As a result, a tendency flourished among realists to produce paintings that reflected the everyday mental experiences of contemporary life. This included abstract concepts such as cultures, problems and customs which tended to focus specifically on the immediate surrounds of the artist and thusly include objects and people traditionally not considered of any artistic merit. ("A Short history,") Romanticism was the sugar coated escape for the reality occurring around people in the late 18th century however Realism went completely against what romanticism held to be so important in its period.

The Realism period provided a scientific answer for the imbalance in society caused but the Romantic views of people in the late 18th century. Realism showed how important it was to appreciate everyday life and the works that contributed to your society as Romanticism tended to rebel against all political and social influences of the time period. Realism waged a metaphorical battle against any art that depicted emotions or romanticism. Realism seemed to fade when the Impressionism period came to light. This period has some similarities to realism.

The Impressionism period reflected a more extended version of realism. Impressionism was more scenic and landscape but still focused on using everyday life as the basis of the art. . Francisco Goya’s performed etchings such as his work “The Sleep of reason” he believed art should reflect the way the world was without illusion. (“Learn about realism,”) These periods brought us great writers such as Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne and artist such as Eugene Delacroix that have greatly influenced the artist and writers of today.

Although both periods completely disagreed with each other they were both a result of the social and economic situation that was in need of a solution. Bibliography Learn about realism. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. arthistory-famousartists-paintings. com/Realism. html A Short history on realism. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. frontpainting. com/famous-paintings-realism. html Honour, H. (1974). Romanticism. New York, New York: Westview press .

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Romanticism and Realism: Two Contrasting Periods in Literature and Art History. (2017, Jan 03). Retrieved from

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