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Romanticism began in the mid-18th century and reached its height in the 19th century. It was limited to Europe and America although different compatriots donated to its birth and popularity. Romanticism as a movement declined in the late 19th century and early 20th century with the growing dominance of Realism in the arts and the rapid advancement of science and technology. However, Romanticism was very impressionative on most individuals during its time. This was because it was expressed in three main aspects of life: literature, art, and music.
In literature, Romanticism was to some extent a reaction against the strict rules formulated by the Neoclassicists. The first fully Romantic poetry was Lyrical Ballads (1798) by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Wordsworth's The World is Too Much With Us (1802) emphasizes a world being plagued by materialism while steadily losing its spirituality. He used Greek mythological figures to symbolize that the nature the ancients enjoyed could not be destroyed by the Industrial Age. John Keats' La Bell Dame Sans Merci (1819) is another notable example of Romanticism in literature. Keats portrayed this work through mysticism, death, and the emotional nature of human beings. Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Keats described nature in an exclusive way because landscape was the main principal in their works. "Mind of Man," as Wordsworth observed, was a poets' response to the natural scenes that inspired their thinking. Despite all of this, nature commonly was the focus of Romantic painters.
Romantic painters rebelled against the objectivity and composure of the prevailing Neoclassic style. The art is colorful, expressive, and full of movement. John Constable's Wivenhoe Park, Essex (1816), is a pristine example of his scientific approach to capturing the qualities of atmosphere, light, and sky. Constable used God in nature, creativity, and the peaceful aspects of nature in this work. He is famed for his "Constable sky," which is the main element of his portrayal of the scene at Wivenhoe Park. Joseph Mallard William Turner was another Englishman who is famed for his Romantic works. His emphasis on light possibly arrives from his sensitivity to it. He was ahead of his time with his use of light, extremities of storms, fire, and sunsets. His Keelmen Heaving Coals by Moonlight (ca. 1835) is an illustrious example of most of his famous effects: moonlight, fires, and color in atmospheric effects.
Romanticism in music ran parallel with the movement in literature and art. The Romantic composers were highly individual. They expressed intense emotion, projected their own feelings, and suggested exotic, strange, and vivid ideas in their music. Composers began suggesting pictorial ideas and telling stories in their music. An example is the distinguished orchestral inventor Hector Berlioz. His innovative style led to his creation of a single theme classical form. In 1830, Berlioz created Symphonie fantastique which derived from different interests in his life. It had five movements presenting human emotions, death, imagination, the peaceful aspects of nature, and fantasy. Another example is the famed Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker (1892). It was a story based on imagination, creativity, fantasy, and the emotional nature of human beings. You might be able to see that Romantic poets and painters had a direct and powerful influence on music
In conclusion, Romanticism was a movement in the arts and in social thought. It varied from one group, or individual to another, but certain characteristics were common to most aspects of the movement. Among these characteristics were individualism, emotional expression, rejection of rules of art forms, imagination rather than reason, and expression of the sublime or peaceful aspects of nature. There were also definite or specific characteristics that Romanticists opposed. Such characteristics included empiricism, mathematical thinking, mechanization, dehumanization, and increased materialism.
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Romanticism, Romantic poets, British poetry, Literary genres, German idealism, Romantic poetry, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Romance, John Keats, Landscape, The World Is Too Much with Us, Sublime
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