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Romantic Art Characteristics

Romantic Art Characteristics: When we hear the words “Romantic art,” we might think of “love matters” but that is not always true at least for romantic painting, it simply infers “emotional” art.

The word “romance” in art refers to strong emotions associated with an art style that was prevalent at the dawn of the 19th century.

Romantic Art Characteristics

The development of subject matter and style of romantic art began around the beginning of the 19th century, and is often dated 1775 – 1830 and termed as “romanticism movement”.And it was during the French Revolution of 1789 that the period noticed changes and revolution in human rights.

What are the Unique Characteristics of Romantic Art?

Romanticism Movement which mainly manifested in Britain Germany and France during the late 18th and early 19th century was a broad intellectual and artistic movement.

Romantic Art Characteristics

Romanticism in the painting is not easy to define, but there are prominent characteristics of Romantic painting that can be identified.

Emphasis on Emotions was a typical Romantic Art Aspect

Artists painted the canvas expressing the feelings and passions. A painted landscape displayed expressions on every face, in fact, the animals panted had to depict some specific trait of that animal.

The portraits were brought to life by giving the person eyes like mirrors of the soul, a smile, a grimace, or a certain tilt of the head. With the magic of brushes, the artists portrayed his subject depicting innocence, madness, virtue, loneliness, altruism or greed.

Power of Nature was Another Romanticism Characteristic

Artists respected the power and mystery of nature and tried to reproduce its ravishing majesty on the canvas. The ships are overshadowed by the ominous sky and the swirling waves. The water and atmosphere have more detail than the sailors and ships.

Calais Pier by JMW Turner
Calais Pier by JMW Turner

We find many, many examples of shipwrecks in Romantic paintings, and also of blizzards, fires, thunderstorms, lightning strikes, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, and biblical disasters. one notable painting of the time’ Calais Pier’ by JMW Turner, the ships, are overshadowed by the ominous sky and the swirling waves

Current Event was a Typical Distinct Feature

Since 18 and 19th century were the periods of enlightenment, the contemporary viewers were quite knowledgeable of the current events. We find various examples, like, Théodore Géricault’s masterpiece

The Raft of the Medusa (1818-19) detailed the 1816 shipwreck of the naval frigate Méduse, Similarly, Eugène Delacroix painted Liberty Leading the People (1830) knowing that people in France were familiar with the July Revolution of 1830.

Lack of Unifying Style, Technique, or Subject Matter was peculiar

Romanticism wasn’t like Impressionism, where everyone concentrated on painting the effects of light using loose brushwork. The romantic art ranged from the smooth-as-glass and highly-detailed, Romanticism didn’t capture the attractive fashionable people in whimsical style. Romanticism Picked a mood, any mood, and there was some Romantic artist that conveyed it on canvas. 

The Indigenous Culture was Unique to Romantic Art

Romantic painters were inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s description of ”The Noble Savage,” and since they shared a divinity of indigenous and tribal cultures with nature they portrayed it on canvas.

Romantic Art Characteristics
Luis Monroy The Last Moments of Atala

The Subjects were often depicted in bold and striking poses. The paintings also depicted the ruins of devasted cities and towns.

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