Essay about Romanticism: Landscape Art and Romanticism Movement

Submitted By Joeyhanson1
Words: 1677
Pages: 7

Roger Wilkey
Art Appreciation
April 21, 2010

IP4: Romanticism

The style of art I chose to discuss is Romanticism. The three artists’ and their works I chose are; Albert Bierstadt and his landscape painting “The Domes of The Yosemite” (1867), Thomas Moran and his landscape painting “Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” (1872), and Frederic Church and his landscape painting “The Heart of The Andes” (1859). These three artists’s captured the essence of the romanticism movement in their paintings by illustrating the idealist version of the landscape and detail from direct observation. Albert Bierstadt was a German-American painter best known for his landscapes of the American west. In this painting “The Domes of Yosemite” the artist is showing an idealized view from a vantage point midway up Yosemite Falls near Columbia Rock. On the left of the viewer is the waterfall and in the foreground is the ledge that overlooks the pool of water where the waterfall empties. In the middle is the winding river that flows through the valley and in the background are other cliffs that close in the valley. As a romantic artist Bierstadt sought to bring out the sublime in all of his paintings, to show the grandeur of nature and the vast unsettled spaces of the American west. In this painting Bierstadt compressed the valley’s features and moved various elements of the landscape to capture the idealized version of the falls that he envisioned. He used great detail to capture the texture of the rocks and trees, and portray the colors, light, and shadow the way he remembered them from his memory and sketches taken from his visits to the site. The artists’ emphasis on the heights of the cliffs gives the viewer a glimpse of the impressive scale of the falls. This work qualifies as a piece of art from the romanticism movement because of the artists’ use of specific details from direct observation but incorporating those elements into his idealized version of the landscape depicted. Thomas Moran was a British emigrant and self taught painter known for his landscape portraits of the Rocky Mountains. In the painting “Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” the artist paints the view of the lower falls through a deep chasm. A perspective from what is now known as “Artist’s Point”. In the foreground of the painting there are two figures staring at the view meant by the artist to represent the new discovery of Yellowstone and its majesty. There are two other figures less noticed of a Native Indian and a slain deer. The Native Indian is shown with his back to the view meant to represent the fact that Yellowstone is not a new discovery to their people, and show the darker side of the westward expansion and the impact that it will have on the native people. In the center of the painting are the lower falls and the river cutting through the canyon. In the background is the faint outline of a mountain range. This painting is also an idealized depiction of the landscape surrounding Yellowstone, some of the mountains shown are not visible from this vantage point but included in the painting. Moran stated that “I desired to tell truly of nature; I did not wish to realize the scene literally, but to preserve and convey its true impression” ( Thomas Moran’s paintings and vision of this landscape helped to create Yellowstone National Park. This painting was also the first American landscape ever bought by the American Government it was purchased for $10,000. The combination of idealized depiction, actual detail, the pastoral and sublime quality satisfies the qualities for a piece of romanticism art. Frederic Edwin Church was an American born painter known best for his lush detailed landscapes. Church changed the public’s outlook of landscape portraiture by depicting not only American landscapes but also those in foreign lands ( In the painting “The Heart of the Andes” the artist paints a view of a South