19th Century: Romanticism (1804-1850)

During the nineteenth century artists no longer had specific clients: they found themselves working for themselves, creating works on their own initiative that might or might not find a buyer. In eighteen fifties there was not less than 4000 painters in Paris. Even the famous artists such as Delacroix, and Ingres had problems to sell their production. The era of exhibition and art criticism has arrived. The public strove to the art objects which would excite their imagination and their sense of fantasy. And so the traditional subjects of painting (gods, nymphs, allegories, Bible stories, scenes from the ancient history) gave way to the artist vision, to what excited him in present or in past. In painting, subject and feeling became the most important element, just as they were in Rousseau philosophy of nature and the individual. Rousseau was the first thinker who illustrated the superiority of feeling to intellect, and the great movement of European intellect in the 18th century gave way to romantic and emotional literature. They expressed the innermost areas of self, the world of dreams, the fantastic, the subconscious. Another element of the Romantic world was a fascination with the Middle Ages, which was seen as an era of pure religious feelings. The most popular painters of this period in France were Ernst Meisonnier and Rosa Bonheur who could make fortunes by their art, however since the first world war both of them are completely forgotten. Among the painters there are two Englishmen - Turner, and Constable both from countryside and both were depicting nature with a great insight. Fond of nature they preferred it to the ancient heroes in armor in the time when many painters were striving for Rome, being inspired Homer and Plutarch. The Spaniard Goya - the court painter of Bourbons - made many portraits of the Royal family without a vestige of idealization. The Romantic spirit of his works is best perceived in the Naked Maja or Maja Desnuda, and the Clothed Maja or La Maja Vestida. These companion pictures attract almost as many gazers in the Prado as the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. His drawings depicting the horrors of war are astoundingly realistic. The French artist - Delacroix felt utter contempt to his own time, because of its utter materialism and complacent belief in progress. His close friends were the poets and writers, including the man he loved mostly - Shopen. Some of his largest canvas were inspired by Byron. Literature of this time is embellished by the names of great poets and writers such as J.W.Goethe, G.Byron, A.Pushkin. There are two names in field of philosophy which one should not miss: Hegel and Schopenhauer. What Schopenhaer did was that "he opened the eyes of psychologists on the subtle depth and omnipresent force of instinct...he further taught us again the necessity of genius, and the value of art, and that the ultimate joy lies in creation or cherishing the beautiful" sums up W. Durant. Hegel a rather obscure philosopher who introduced the so called dialectical movement (foreshadowed by the Ancient Greeks) such as by an example: " the truth of the conservatism and radicalism is liberalism- an opened mind and a cautious hand, an open hand and a cautious mind; the formation of our opinions on large issues is a decreasing oscillation between the extremes. The movement of evolution is a continuos development of oppositions, and their merging and reconciliation" in the words of W. Durant. Hegel put forward among other ideas that of Zeitgeist, the Spirit of the Age. His influence on Karl Marx was very great.

See also:
» Realism 1850-1870
» Modern art 1880-1920
» Impressionism

» Symbolism & Post     Impressionism

Painting: Constable, Goya, Delacroix, Ingres, Turner.
Music: Bethoven, Schubert, Schuman, Shopin, Mendelson, Glinka, List, Rossini, Verdi.
Philosophy: Hegel, Schopenhaer.
Poetry: Goethe, Byron, Pushkin, Baudelaire.

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