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Romanticism: Emotional and Individuality

Moonlight walks on the beach, candlelight dinners, and champagne toasts in a hot tub? Well, not exactly. Romanticism, an intellectual and art movement that flourished in the early nineteenth century, emphasized strong emotion and individualism and stressed the importance of nature and heroic individuals. Romanticism was a reaction against Classicism which stressed order, harmony, idealization and rationality.

As an art style, Romanticism placed a strong value on the past. Common subjects were simply individuals or heroic figures of a personal nature rather than a public nature. Mythological and legendary subjects were elevated to great importance. The emotions emphasized in Romanticism were usually melancholic and often related to tragedy. Common settings were nature in its untamed state, exotic backgrounds or lost worlds. Brushwork was typically bold and luminous and composition was generally nonsymmetrical and free flowing.

In France, Romantic painters included Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix. In England, painters in the Romantic tradition included William Blake and John Constable, while in Spain, Francesco Goya’s portraits and images of war were painted in the Romantic style.

In the United States, the Hudson River School, led by painter Thomas Cole, created dramatic images of the American wilderness such as the Hudson River Valley that included misty mountainsides and beautiful sunsets.

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Diana Blake is a professional artist and art history enthusiast. Her fascination with art history began when she encountered European art firsthand during several trips abroad as a young adult. As she began to compose a portfolio for her own art career, she called upon what she had seen in Europe and extended her knowledge to other styles of art through profuse reading and exhaustive research. As a result, Diana has written more than one hundred articles in which she delves into a variety of art history topics and she has compiled a list of links that she believes to be invaluable for art history enthusiasts. In addition, she also reviews books and movies on the topic of art history and has assembled an extensive list of online stores that sell books, movies and gift items related to art history.
   You can see Diana's own artwork by visiting her site at