An artistic movement is a predisposition or style of art with a specific goal or philosophy. In an artistic movement several artists, during a restricted period in time, work in a distinctive and similar style. Another artistic movement is fashioned when the style or method moves or changes. These styles are used to describe art practiced by a group of artists within the same region and/or time period. The artists from the time period use nearly identical techniques, or they share common attitudes and opinions. Some art movements, which are influenced by other art movements, show clear similarities, while others seem to defy other movements as a result of strict limitations. Romanticism, which is an artistic movement from the late 18th to 19th century, has very little to do with typical things that are considered “romantic”, although love occasionally is the subject of Romantic art. Rather, it is an international philosophical and artistic movement that redefined the fundamental ways in which the people from Western cultures thought about their place in the world (Academic Brooklyn Cuny). Romanticism is an intellectual attitude that characterized many works of painting, literature, history, architecture and music in Western civilization over a specific period in time. Romanticism is a rejection of the precepts of order, harmony, calm, idealization, balance and rationality that characterized Classicism in the general and late 18th century, Neoclassicism in particular (Encyclopædia Britannica). Originally, Romantic meant the opposite of classical. Classical is orderly and calm, even serene. On the other hand, Romantic is wild, paintings and poems burst with meaning, energy, and often intimations of something spiritual (Wilder). In addition, it was to some extent a response against the Enlightenment as well as 18th century rationalism and physical materialism. Romanticism placed emphasis on the individual, the subject, the personal, the imaginative, the spontaneous, the emotional, the irrational, the transcendental and the visionary (Encyclopædia Britannica). The characteristic attitudes of Romanticism include the following: a general excitement of emotion over reason and senses over intellect, a deepened appreciation for the beauty of nature, a turning point upon self and a thorough examination of human personality including its mental potentialities and moods, and a focus on inner struggles and passion (Encyclopædia Britannica). In addition, a newfound view of the artist as an individual creator was born. The artist, or the creator’s creative spirits were considered more important than a strict devotion to traditional procedures and formal rules. An emphasis was placed on imagination as a doorway to an inspirational experience and spiritual truth. Also, a sudden obsessive interest in folk culture, ethnic cultural origins, and a general attraction to the remote, exotic, weird, mysterious, monstrous, diseased and even satanic was born (Encyclopædia Britannica).
Romanticism is complicated to grasp because Romantic artists did not have only one style like the Impressionists or Expressionists. The movement focused on intense personal expression, artists from the period focused on whatever appealed to them as individuals. Romanticism was not grounded in France or Italy, but it spread across most of Europe and the United States (Wilder).
As mentioned previously, Romanticism does not mean lying dreamy-eyed in a meadow gazing longingly into your lover’s eyes. The movement did not focus on romance at all, but instead centered on being an individualist. As an individualist, one believes in the rights of other individuals and expresses intense, deep and often uplifting emotions. Frequently, but not always, it meant having a close, spiritual relationship with nature. British Romantic poet William Wordsworth in Tintern Abbey wrote, “Nature never did betray the