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Styles & Periods

Romanticism is an artistic movement of late 18th century Europe and North America, which stressed freedom above all else. Strong emotion, a release from conventional social boundaries, and a preference for imagination over rationality are all key elements of the Romantic mind set. Romanticism and Classicism, or Neoclassicism, are often seen as reactions against one another. They can also be seen as two approaches to the same concern, namely, how to address the past and integrate art with the idealism and struggle for social change of the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment world. Where Neoclassicism looked toward ancient Greece and Rome as the perceived pinnacle of culture, Romanticism heroized the individual, especially those facets of the individual that centered on exalted or transcendent experiences. Subjectivity, rather than an adherence to accepted forms, was central to the Romantic worldview. Romanticism emphasized the occult, the exotic, the spiritual, the heroic, the personal, the spontaneous and the visionary. Romantic painters such as Goya and Delacroix, and writer-artists like William Blake, saw in nature and in folk and exotic styles the idealized dynamism they sought. Romanticism¹s preoccupation with subjectivity, personal genius and introspection can be seen as the precursors toward Modernism and Post-modernism.

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