Romanticism is an art movement that began in the late 1700s and flourished throughout the 1800s. Its roots can be traced to reactions against the Enlightenment, which emphasized reason and logic as the basis for understanding and appreciating the world around us.

Romanticism was focused more on the modern world. It admitted the wild and the savage and the uncontrolled aspects of life and the power and unpredictability of nature. It embraced the beautiful and the ugly. In fact, it challenged or even rebelled against Neoclassicism and the established boundaries of beauty and subject matter at that time.

Some of the romanticist artists were Gericault and Delacroix in France, William Blake, John Constable, and J. M. W. Turner in England, and then in Spain was Goya. Some of these artists chose to focus on dramatic events, while others emphasized sense and emotion as opposed to the reason and the order of Neoclassicism.

But Romanticism celebrated the individual imagination, intuition, it embraced the struggle for freedom and liberty, human rights and equality, spurred on by the American Revolution and the French Revolution. So there was this newfound sense of nationalism.

Now, while the French artists and the Spanish artists focused on the emotion and the expression in response to what was going on in their countries, there were other painters at the time, particularly Turner and Constable in England, who turned their attention to sweeping landscapes and seascapes, atmospheric paintings, or sublime scenes of grandeur and power.

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  • John Constable
  • Eugene Delacroix
  • Theodore Gericault
  • Francisco de Goya
  • Joseph M. W. Turner 

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