Romanticism and Neoclassical

Last Updated: 01 Feb 2021
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Romanticism a word that makes one think that it is a piece of art that shows love, a man and a woman. But it is not quite that, romanticism can mean freedom, rebellion, it could symbol intuition, emotion, the individual, and truth. It refers to art work that states feelings, moods, and dominates. An individual expression of experiences which cannot and could not be evaluated or assessed in purely rational or materialistic terms. Romanticism was one of the most unique ism that would most certainly be remembered most.

Romanticism started during the time of Neo-Classicism, many disliked the view that Neo-Classicism and so they began a new style. Romanticism valued human emotions, instincts, over rational, rule based approach to questions of value and meaning in the arts, society, and politics. Romanticism can be charactized by formal stylization; the compositional is simplification, and a preference for graphic techniques and expanses of color. Another thing that also inspired the art movement was the attitude towards the landscape.

However romanticism wasn’t accepted until 1830. The intention for Romanticism was to create a new world to enter the wreckage of the old; the time for innovation, experiment, new social systems and Utopias, new concepts and morality. A romantic was one who had broken loose from the rigid controls of the past and felt free to move ahead. Romantic artists explored specific values of individuality which Neo-Classicism ignored; the values of intuition, instinct, and even the more in accessible aspects of feelings which reach and exceed the boundaries beyond of reason.

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There were four non art history facts that were either influenced or affected the art movement were; the American and French Revolutions, the restoration between the Greeks and Turks, and the Age of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment had a negative effect on the romantics; they attacked the Church. The two artists that are quite interesting to learn about from this period are Eugene Delacroix and Theodore Gericault. They might not be Michelangelo or Paul Klee or any other big shot artist but they are still artists, artists that have done beautiful work and some most incredible art pieces.

Eugene Delacroix, born on April 26, 1791, in the month of the Taurus, in Paris suburb called Charenton-Saint-Maurice. He was presumed to be premature, but some expect that his real father was Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, instead of Charles-Francois Delacroix. However Delacroix turned a blind ear to them for he believed that Charles-Francois was his true father. He showed an exceptional talent for music, for the cathedral; who had been a friend of Mozart, Delacroix learnt how to play the piano, violin, and the guitar.

He was only nine or ten when according to his friend critic Theophite Silvestre, when he went to Louvre. When he was seven his father died, his mother packed up everything and took Delacroix and Henriette and left to live in Paris. His two older brothers were away at war. He was taught by Pierre-Narcisse Guerin and also by Theodore Gericault at Lycee Louis-le-Grand. However he was not on good terms with Theodore; who was seven years his senior to Eugene. Eugene had turned a deaf ear to Gericault’s injunction from the first time he meet him. He felt an instinctive affinity to Theodore’s ideas.

It wasn’t until 10 years later after they met that Gericault died at age 32. His art piece Bark of Dante was debt to Theodore Gericault; who he met. Everywhere in his art one can see in the exploitation of the dramatic potential in the waterscape, or in the use of diagonals to convey the sense of struggle and movement in the form of the figures. The bold emphasis on their musculature is incredible. However the theme is and was a thoroughly respectable one. It was free of anything that might rile official dom. After it had been exhibited at the Salon, the French government paid 2,000 francs for it.

In his later years he became called “a volcanic crater artistically concealed behind bouquets of flowers” or even sometimes called The Great Romantic. He could be a lover of women and a work fanatic, an adept at social trivia and a man of wider ranging erudition not only mastery of esthetics but an impressive grasp of music, theater, and literature. His first foreign journey was to England, where he learnt how to ride on horses, which would come in handy for the Moroccan desert. Where he went mostly for politic reasons and not only was it for art it was also to escape the civilization of Paris.

He produced over 100 sketches and paintings of the people, their costumes or just the landscape. He demonically turned out more than 850 paintings, thousands of sketches, watercolors, and drawings of art. In his lifetime he produced more than 20 works that were inspired by Shakespeare. He continued to make art till he died; for he was trying to reconcile opposites to see art as a whole. For part of Eugene’s genius laid in his capacity to learn from others. He died in 1863 in Paris, France. One of his artwork titled Orphan Girl at Cemetery which was worked and finished between 1823-1824.

Delacroix used oil on canvas with this art. It shows a girl with hair pilled on her head and she is looking to sky. In the background you can just see the church and some crosses. There is a sense of sadness and loneliness in her eyes and her look. Theodore Gericault was born in 1791 into a bourgeois family in Rouen. Gericault moved to Paris as a boy. He has been fascinated by all aspects of equestrian such as races, jumping and riding schools. He was also overwhelmingly attracted by the clashes between individuals; he investigated their various forms in journeys which in England led him to observe the human deluxe.

Theodore was educated in the tradition of English sporting art by the Carle Vernet, and even by Pierre-Narcisse Guerin, who disliked his temperament but saw a talent in him. He then left and learnt at the Louvre for six years when he realized that he preferred the vitality over the prevailing school of Neo-Classicism. He exhibited his Wounded Cuirassier at the Salon in 1814 and also his first major work The Charging Chasseur at the Salon in 1812. Gericault was a merry, gregarious man whose tastes as a bon vivant did not preclude a deep-seated sympathy for the under dog.

He went to Florence, Rome, and Naples in 1816-1817, mostly to escape a romantic entanglement with his aunt. Gericault became fascinated by Michelangelo; which helped inspire his art piece the Race of the Barberi Horses. After he went back to France in 1821 he painted a series of portraits of his friend Dr. Etienne-Jean Georget’s patients; each containing a different diagnosis. Theodore drew his subjects from the crudest parts of reality; he visited slaughter houses, morgues, asylums, delving into the morbid events reported in newspapers, observing the devastating corporeal strength of animals.

Some of his artworks consist of horses, lions, and tigers. Gericault was also one of the first artist to take up the newly invented process of lithography, producing a serveing of 13 pickes illustrating the life of the English poor. He was in the process of painting new artworks, when his health stroked a final note. Theodore was always riding for his among his passions was horses. He owned them, painted them, and even tamed them. His fatal illness grew on to a riding trip which injured his spine and caused him to waste. He died after a slow period of suffering, in Paris 1834 at the age of 3

Art History: Neoclassicism: (1750 - 1830) The term Neoclassicism refers to the classical revival in European art, architecture, and interior design that lasted from the mid-eighteenth to the early nineteenth century. This period gave rebirth to the art of ancient Rome and Greece and the Renaissance as an opposition to the ostentatious Baroque and Rococo art that preceded the movement. Although the movement spread throughout Western Europe, France and England were the countries that used the style most frequently in their arts and architecture, using the classical elements to express ideas of nationalism, courage, and sacrifice.

The movement was inspired by the discovery of ancient Italian artifacts at the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Also influential in the development was the cultural studies of German art historian Johann J. Winckelmann who claimed that the most important elements of classical art were "noble simplicity and calm grandeur. " Neoclassicism emphasized rationality and the resurgence of tradition. Neoclassical artists incorporated classical styles and subjects, including columns, pediments, friezes, and other ornamental schemes in their work.

They were inspired by the work of Homer and Plutarch and John Flaxmann’s illustrations for the Illiad and Odyssey. Other classic models included Virgil, Raphael, and Poussin among others. Neoclassical painters took extra care to depict the costumes, settings, and details of classical subject matter with as much accuracy as possible. Much of the subject matter was derived from classical history and mythology. The movement emphasized line quality over color, light, and atmosphere. The height of Neoclassicism was displayed in the paintings of Jacques-Louis David and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

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