Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Romanticism is movement away from classical subjects and content to those defying reason. Rather than explaining to the viewer, the works provide an opening for the unexplained - urging the viewer to contemplate questions that are unanswerable. There is a greater focus on emotions and spiritual contemplations than on the realities of life. It seems to me that the people of the time had been brought to a precipice by the Renaissance – they were unprepared for the knowledge that was imparted to them and unprepared for the responsibility of that knowledge. In order to ‘deal’ with this, they sought out the unexplainable. They sought to break the boundaries that society had impressed upon them and embrace the imagined state of freedom – not realizing that freedom itself has boundaries and responsibilities.

Sculptures, architecture, paintings and engravings were all done in the Romantic style. All full of symbolism and imaginative, fanciful creatures derived from the artist’s inner-most being driving the viewer or patron to wonder and imagine.

The Romanticism of art contained everything from the erotic to the satanic. Anything goes, it seems. The subject matter was extremely imaginative and limited only by the creativeness of the artist. American Romanticism was a bit more subdued than the European style. Allegories of nature and God and time were woven into the work of the Hudson River School works by Asher B. Durand, Frederic Edwin Church, and Albert Bierstadt. Bierstadt’s have a tendency to be my favorite. The minute details of his works are wonderful and the lighting is exquisite.

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