In the late 18th century, Neoclassical art began to fade as the Romanticism movement became popular. Unlike artists of the Enlightenment, Romanticism began to put emphasis on feeling rather than reason, intuition rather than calculation, and subjective emotion rather than objective nature. The Romantics believed in imagination rather than reason, and were more "feelers" than "thinkers." So the subjects of the paintings of the Romanticism style became mythological and fictional. The subjects were vast though because of the artists' imagination and freedom to paint what they liked, not just actual and real scenes depicting real life. Romanticism put subjects into a fictional narrative with objects or animals symbolizes something.
Romanticism shows a vast interest in the medieval period. Romantic art works show their imagination of a grotesque, sublime, and horrific period during the Middle Ages. The art also became much more exotic and erotic. Fuseli shows this sadistic and erotic Romantic style through his painting The Nightmare, where the painting is indeed a nightmare.
Romanticism also illustrates much more action, drama, and emotion. The figures were became very dramatic. Goya's The Third May provides action, emotion, and drama in his deptiction of the French executing the Spanish peasants. Goya also shows the Romantics style of harsh lights and darks, which causes the scenes to appear even more dramatic. Artists often provide a dark background with a light subject matter, creating high contrast.
Landscape also becomes a dominant subject matter during this period. The landscapes were often extravagant, colorful, and high contrasted. Turner's The Slave Ship shows the dramatic subject matter and vibrant color of landscapes with the cruel subject, and his boiling colors.