In my essay I have chosen to discuss the romanticism movement within social and its artistic context. Romanticism is described as being an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that came to its peak from 1800-1840 and was also a revolt against the aristocratic social and political behaviour that was expected by all. The movement Justifies heavy emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experiences which then put emphasis on emotions such as terror, horror and apprehension. A lot of these artworks that were created within this movement was the idea of capturing the sublimity of untameable nature and it’s artistically beautiful qualities. Romanticism then reached beyond the rational and classicist ideals to elevate a reborn Medievalism with elements that portrayed these art works as medieval to try to escape the confines of population growth, urban sprawl and industrialism, and it also explored the exotic, strange and distant in order to escape the normal. It is important to note that during the industrial revolution romanticism was used to both support and despise the progress made during this period. Monet’s ‘Arrival of the Normandy Train’ portrays the invention of the train in a celebrated manner with Monet’s use of colour and the excellent detail shown in this picture making the train look ready for action which then expresses the social importance at this time. However if we look at Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ which can be interpreted as a warning that if man tries to play god that things can potentially end badly. Defining Romanticism can be approached by the primary importance of the free expressions and emotions being shown in this movement. In order to truly express these emotions the art must come from the imagination of the artist with as little reference as possible.
One of the artists that I think has mainly influenced the romanticism movement was the German romantic painter Casper David Friedrich. He was born on September 5, 1774, and was considered one of the greatest components in the European art of symbolic landscapes and generally considered as one of the most important German artist of his generation. He studied at the Academy in Copenhagen from 1794-1798, and because of this settled in Dresden, yet often travelling to other parts of Germany to inspire his works. As a result of his travelling all of his works are based entirely on the landscapes of Northern Germany of Beautiful renderings of trees, hills, harbours, morning mists, and other light based effects on nature. Riedrich’s work brought him renown early in his career, and contemporaries such as the French sculptor David D’Angers spoke of him as a man who had discovered “the tragedy of landscapes”. Some of Friedrichs best known paintings are expressions of a religious mysticism. In 1808 he exhibited one of his most controversial paintings, The Cross Of The Mountains. In this picture he has shown the world for the first time in Christian and romantic art an altar piece was conceived in terms of a pure landscape. The cross, viewed obliquely from behind as an insignificant object in the composition. What makes this composition more ecstatic are the dominant sun rays of the evening sun, which Friedrich said depicted the setting of an old pre Christian world, and the mountains the symbolise an immovable faith, while the trees give of a depiction of hope.
Both Friedrich life and art are marked with this sense of loneliness. This becomes more apparent in in his later work from a time when friends, members of his family and fellow pioneers of early romanticism began to either become distant from him or die. Friedrich’s reputation steadily declined over the final fifteen years of his life, as the ideas of early Romanticism passed from fashion and then became viewed as an eccentric and out of touch of times. By 1820, he was living as a recluse and was described by his friends as “the most solitary of the solitary “.