Why Romanticism is Important to Understand for Modern Artists

Published Categorized as Art Movements, Romanticism

Introduction: Introducing Romanticism

“Romanticism” is a term that was first coined by the French art critic, Charles Batteux, in 1765. He had borrowed it from the German artist and literary-critic Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who used it to describe an artistic movement in 18th-century Europe. The Romantic movement emphasized dark colors, emotionality, and drama, often evoking an atmosphere of desperation or urgency.

The Romantics rejected Enlightenment ideas that reason prevails over emotion when discussing issues of taste and sentiment. The Romantics wanted to express free thought and unbridled emotions in their writing, paintings, poems, music and other art forms.

What is Romanticism and why it was so popular?

Romanticism is a movement in the arts that dominated Western culture from the late 18th century until the mid-19th century. Romanticism is characterized by an emphasis on emotion, sensibility, subjectivity and individualism as well as rejecting classical notions of balance, order, symmetry and good taste. It was partly a reaction to the scientific rationalization of nature and partly an expression of an individualistic worldview.

Yet, Romanticists would argue that their style was more natural than Classicist styles because it focused on individual emotions or feelings.

The Enlightened Vision of Romantic Art

The Romantic Art movement of the nineteenth century had a profound effect on the way society saw art.

The Romantic Art movement emerged as a reaction to the neoclassicism that was popular during the eighteenth century. Emphasis was placed on emotionality and imagination rather than reason and order. This movement, which lasted from 1800-1850, rejected rationality as a means of understanding nature or human experience for subjectivity and intuition. The Romantics believed these qualities could be found in a person’s natural impulses and thoughts rather than in classical philosophy.

Romantic artists used color boldly and expressively, often with great contrast between light and dark shades, with an emphasis on portraying emotions such as awe or horror instead of using formal methods of perspective.

Romantic Figures and Female Archetypes in Painting & Literature

The Romantic movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries saw a rise in female archetypes in literature and painting. Idealized depictions of women serve to remind the audience of their beauty, virtue, and purity. These woman types can be seen in paintings like “The Angelus” (1859) by Jean-Francois Millet or “Ophelia” (1851) by John Everett Millais. They are often seen as pure, innocent, virginal, virtuous beings that are incapable of sexual desires or fertility. The male protagonist is often at odds with these feminine archetypes due to his own carnal desires for the woman depicted.

Conclusion: The Impact of Romanticism on Modern Society

Romanticism, a social and intellectual movement from the 18th century, was a response to the Industrial Revolution. Romanticism emphasized individualism, emotion, imagination and nature.


Romanticism helped to redefine our society into a more individualistic one by emphasizing the importance of imagination and emotion.