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Romanticism 
Painting 
A visual exploration of the sublime, awesome, and naturalistic elements 
of Romantic art.
What was Romanticism? 
• Romanticism is a bit difficult to pin 
down, but generally it was an artistic, 
literary, and intellectual movement 
that originated in Europe toward the 
end of the 18th century and reached 
its peak from around 1800 to 1850. 
• The term refers to an idealization of 
reality. 
Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer 
Above the Sea of Fog, 1818
Romantism came to mean Anti Classical 
and is somewhat easier to think of as a feeling more than a definition. 
SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF 
ROMANTICISM ARE: 
• It represented a movement towards the sublime and the picturesque. 
• Nature (Awe of nature). 
• A political shift from the norm and Aristocratic power. 
• The individual as a unique spirit and creative force (genius). 
• Opposition to the industrialization of Europe. 
• An interest in the exotic and primitive. 
• Melancholy. 
• A desire for a new means of artistic expression.
The Nightmare 
Henry Fuseli 
1781 
One of the first 
Romantic paintings and 
also one of the first to 
depict the dark terrain 
of the human 
subconscious 
Why might Fuseli 
have titled this 
painting “The 
Nightmare”? 
Why would he want 
to make such a 
painting?
Romanticism in Literature: 
FRANKENSTEIN! 
Shelley’s novel Frankenstein takes on the Romantic spirit as 
man becomes a monster wrought by human hands through the 
advance of science. 
Other writers include: 
Keats, Byron, Blake, and Wordsworth sought to express beauty, glory, 
adventure, rebellion, and love of nature 
To William Wordsworth, poetry should be "the spontaneous overflow 
of powerful feelings”. From the Preface to the 2nd edition of Lyrical Ballads, quoted Day, 2
William Turner - Hannibal and 
His Army Crossing the Alps - 1812 
Turner’s paintings captured the Romantic feeling with their portrayal of landscapes as emotional beings.
J.M.W. Turner, The Slave 
Ship (1840). Oil on canvas. 90.8 × 
122.6 cm,Museum of Fine Arts, 
Boston. 
Turner’s painting, “Slave Ship” is an 
excellent example of a Romantic view 
of nature as being both beautiful and 
awesome. 
Romantic artists wanted to depict 
nature, not as a predictable natural 
phenomenon, but rather as 
something wonderful and 
mysterious.
J.M.W. Turner 
Dutch Boats in a Gale 
1801 
Oil on canvas, 163 x 221 cm 
National Gallery, London 
Note the massive black 
storm clouds rolling in 
and literally pushing the 
ship over. They can be 
seen as the awesome 
power of nature or even 
as the dark 
subconscious blowing 
against reason.
W.M. Turner The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834 
1834-35 
Oil on canvas, 92 x 123 cm 
Museum of Art, Philadelphia 
The Burning of the Houses of Lords 
and Commons is the title of two oil 
paintings by J. M. W. Turner, 
depicting the fire that broke out at 
the Houses of Parliament on the 
evening of 16 October 1834. Turner 
himself witnessed the Burning of 
Parliament from the south bank of 
the River Thames. He made sketches 
using both pencil and watercolor in 
two sketchbooks from different 
vantage points, including one from a 
rented boat.
Turner: The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons
Francisco Goya - The Colossus - 1808-1812 
Edmund Burke’s Philosophical 
Enquiry (1757) connected the sublime with 
experiences of awe, terror and danger. 
Burke saw nature as the most sublime 
object, capable of generating the strongest 
sensations in its beholders. This Romantic 
conception of the sublime proved 
influential for several generations of artists.
Theodore Gericault: “Charging Chasseur” 
1812 
Louvre, Paris 
Why would this painting be considered Romantic?
Thomas Eakins 
The Gross Clinic , 1875 
Romantic art was meant to 
touch the audience directly with 
intense feeling.
Tiger and Snake 
Eugene Delacroix 
1862
Eugene Delacroix - Greece on the Ruins 
of Missolonghi - 1827 
EUGENE DELACROIX 
- In the midst of the activities that distract me (shooting 
partridges in the woods..), when I remember a few lines of 
poetry, when I recall some sublime painting, my spirit is 
roused to indignation and spurns the vain sustenance of the 
common herd. And in the same way, when I think of those I 
love, my soul clings eagerly to the elusive trace of these 
cherished ideas. Yes, I am sure of it, great friendship is like 
great genius, and the remembrance of a great and enduring 
friendship is like that of great works of genius. … …What a 
life would be that of two great poets who loved each other 
as we do! (his friend J. B. Pierret, ed.) That would be too 
great for human kind. 
- 
* Eugene Delacroix, source of artist quote on daily life in the woods as young 
Romantic artist, in: a letter to his friend J. B. Pierret 18 September 1818, from 
the Forest of Boixe; as quoted in ”Eugene Delacroix – selected letters 1813 – 
1863”, ed. and translation Jean Stewart, art Works MFA publications, Museum 
of Fine Art Boston, 2001, p. 41
Casper David Friedrich 
Monastery Graveyard in the Snow (Cloister Cemetery in the Snow) 1819. 
Unfortunatley, this painting by 
Friedrich was destroyed in WWII 
by the bombing. All that remains 
is this black and white photo.
The course of empire: Destruction | Thomas Cole | 1836
Combat de chevaliers dans la 
campagne (Confrontation of 
knights in the countryside), 
by Eugène Delacroix, 1834.
Delacroix, 
(1830) A young tiger playing with its mother
Delacroix, 
The Battle of 
Giaour and 
Hassan, after 
Byron's Poem, "Le 
Giaour," 1835
The Gleaners, Jean François Millet, the Louvre, 1857 
The Gleaners is considered to be 
part of the Realism movement 
that developed after Romanticism. 
Here Millet paints peasant women 
with the dignity and structure of 
noble or mythic heroes. 
How might the Romantic 
movement have influenced this 
work?
John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott, 1888, after a poem by Tennyson. 
This painting is more 
correctly classified as 
Victorian, but one can also 
see the influence of 
Romanticism in it. 
Do you think Romanticism 
is still alive today? Can you 
think of any recent works 
of art that might be seen 
as Romantic?
Andrew Wyeth –Wind from the Sea, 1947 
Note how the birds stitched into the curtains seem to fly in the wind. Where does 
the road lead to? 
This is a contemporary 
painting by American 
Realist, Andrew 
Wyeth. Discuss how 
this painting could (or 
could not) be 
associated with 
Romantic ideas.
END SLIDE SHOW 
PRESENTED BY: WWW.BRUCEBLACKART.COM

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Romanticism Painting

  • 1. Romanticism Painting A visual exploration of the sublime, awesome, and naturalistic elements of Romantic art.
  • 2. What was Romanticism? • Romanticism is a bit difficult to pin down, but generally it was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and reached its peak from around 1800 to 1850. • The term refers to an idealization of reality. Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, 1818
  • 3. Romantism came to mean Anti Classical and is somewhat easier to think of as a feeling more than a definition. SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF ROMANTICISM ARE: • It represented a movement towards the sublime and the picturesque. • Nature (Awe of nature). • A political shift from the norm and Aristocratic power. • The individual as a unique spirit and creative force (genius). • Opposition to the industrialization of Europe. • An interest in the exotic and primitive. • Melancholy. • A desire for a new means of artistic expression.
  • 4. The Nightmare Henry Fuseli 1781 One of the first Romantic paintings and also one of the first to depict the dark terrain of the human subconscious Why might Fuseli have titled this painting “The Nightmare”? Why would he want to make such a painting?
  • 5. Romanticism in Literature: FRANKENSTEIN! Shelley’s novel Frankenstein takes on the Romantic spirit as man becomes a monster wrought by human hands through the advance of science. Other writers include: Keats, Byron, Blake, and Wordsworth sought to express beauty, glory, adventure, rebellion, and love of nature To William Wordsworth, poetry should be "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”. From the Preface to the 2nd edition of Lyrical Ballads, quoted Day, 2
  • 6. William Turner - Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps - 1812 Turner’s paintings captured the Romantic feeling with their portrayal of landscapes as emotional beings.
  • 7. J.M.W. Turner, The Slave Ship (1840). Oil on canvas. 90.8 × 122.6 cm,Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Turner’s painting, “Slave Ship” is an excellent example of a Romantic view of nature as being both beautiful and awesome. Romantic artists wanted to depict nature, not as a predictable natural phenomenon, but rather as something wonderful and mysterious.
  • 8. J.M.W. Turner Dutch Boats in a Gale 1801 Oil on canvas, 163 x 221 cm National Gallery, London Note the massive black storm clouds rolling in and literally pushing the ship over. They can be seen as the awesome power of nature or even as the dark subconscious blowing against reason.
  • 9. W.M. Turner The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834 1834-35 Oil on canvas, 92 x 123 cm Museum of Art, Philadelphia The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons is the title of two oil paintings by J. M. W. Turner, depicting the fire that broke out at the Houses of Parliament on the evening of 16 October 1834. Turner himself witnessed the Burning of Parliament from the south bank of the River Thames. He made sketches using both pencil and watercolor in two sketchbooks from different vantage points, including one from a rented boat.
  • 10. Turner: The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons
  • 11. Francisco Goya - The Colossus - 1808-1812 Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry (1757) connected the sublime with experiences of awe, terror and danger. Burke saw nature as the most sublime object, capable of generating the strongest sensations in its beholders. This Romantic conception of the sublime proved influential for several generations of artists.
  • 12. Theodore Gericault: “Charging Chasseur” 1812 Louvre, Paris Why would this painting be considered Romantic?
  • 13. Thomas Eakins The Gross Clinic , 1875 Romantic art was meant to touch the audience directly with intense feeling.
  • 14. Tiger and Snake Eugene Delacroix 1862
  • 15. Eugene Delacroix - Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi - 1827 EUGENE DELACROIX - In the midst of the activities that distract me (shooting partridges in the woods..), when I remember a few lines of poetry, when I recall some sublime painting, my spirit is roused to indignation and spurns the vain sustenance of the common herd. And in the same way, when I think of those I love, my soul clings eagerly to the elusive trace of these cherished ideas. Yes, I am sure of it, great friendship is like great genius, and the remembrance of a great and enduring friendship is like that of great works of genius. … …What a life would be that of two great poets who loved each other as we do! (his friend J. B. Pierret, ed.) That would be too great for human kind. - * Eugene Delacroix, source of artist quote on daily life in the woods as young Romantic artist, in: a letter to his friend J. B. Pierret 18 September 1818, from the Forest of Boixe; as quoted in ”Eugene Delacroix – selected letters 1813 – 1863”, ed. and translation Jean Stewart, art Works MFA publications, Museum of Fine Art Boston, 2001, p. 41
  • 16. Casper David Friedrich Monastery Graveyard in the Snow (Cloister Cemetery in the Snow) 1819. Unfortunatley, this painting by Friedrich was destroyed in WWII by the bombing. All that remains is this black and white photo.
  • 17. The course of empire: Destruction | Thomas Cole | 1836
  • 18. Combat de chevaliers dans la campagne (Confrontation of knights in the countryside), by Eugène Delacroix, 1834.
  • 19. Delacroix, (1830) A young tiger playing with its mother
  • 20. Delacroix, The Battle of Giaour and Hassan, after Byron's Poem, "Le Giaour," 1835
  • 21. The Gleaners, Jean François Millet, the Louvre, 1857 The Gleaners is considered to be part of the Realism movement that developed after Romanticism. Here Millet paints peasant women with the dignity and structure of noble or mythic heroes. How might the Romantic movement have influenced this work?
  • 22. John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott, 1888, after a poem by Tennyson. This painting is more correctly classified as Victorian, but one can also see the influence of Romanticism in it. Do you think Romanticism is still alive today? Can you think of any recent works of art that might be seen as Romantic?
  • 23. Andrew Wyeth –Wind from the Sea, 1947 Note how the birds stitched into the curtains seem to fly in the wind. Where does the road lead to? This is a contemporary painting by American Realist, Andrew Wyeth. Discuss how this painting could (or could not) be associated with Romantic ideas.
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