Is romance present in all human cultures


What is the romance?

The (art epoch) Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that began in Europe towards the end of the 18th century and lasted until around 1850. The cultural-historical term Biedermeier has established itself as a synonym for romanticism in art historiography, especially in Austria, even if recent exhibitions emphasized the different forms of expression that were cultivated in the Habsburg monarchy between Milan and Prague.

The art of Romanticism is characterized by the emphasis on affects and individuality, plus the glorification of the past and nature, with the Middle Ages overtaking the Classical period. Romanticism is interpreted partly as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the social changes brought about by the French Revolution and partly to the scientific rationalization of nature in the emerging sciences. Romanticism influenced not only the arts but also politics and education, the emergence of nationalism and liberalism.

Even the forerunners of Romanticism - Johann Heinrich Füssli and Francisco de Goya and the writers of Sturm und Drang - invoked feelings as a source of aesthetic experience, although they did not exclude horror and terror, in addition to admiration and awe, and thus “Black Romanticism “Co-founded. Individual imagination, the sublime and the beauty of nature were discussed as new aesthetic categories. In the second half of the 19th century, realism contrasted with romanticism.

Romanticism - more program than style

To speak of “Romanticism” does not make much sense, since the art of the early 19th century is an extremely heterogeneous movement, the context of which is not revealed stylistically, but only when the concepts represented by the artists are compared. The romantics consciously initiated a change of course. They strove for a comprehensive renewal of the arts around and after 1800, after they noted a supposed "decay" in the 17th and 18th centuries (after all, the "Golden Ages" in Spain and Holland are subsumed here, as well as the Flemish Baroque around Peter Paul Rubens, the French Rococo, the art from Caravaggio to Diego Velázquez). This intention linked a number of artists who did not find any uniform design solutions, but wanted to communicate in various ways about a deeply felt, partly religious, partly legendary and fairytale-like "world".

So far, it has made little sense to explain the differences within Romanticism with the origin of the artists and, for example, to contrast a North German Protestant Romanticism with Philipp Otto Runge and Caspar David Friedrich at the center of a South German Catholic Romanticism with the Nazarenes. Romanticism as an epoch term is meant across all media, with poetry often being described as the leading art. Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder contrasted art as a “wonderful language” with nature in his “Heart pourings of an art-loving monastery brother” (1797).

In 1846, the French painter Eugène Delacroix tried to describe the phenomenon of romanticism:

“The romantic cannot be named precisely through the choice of objects, nor through definitive truths, but through a way of feeling. One has tried to look for the romantic outside of oneself, but it can only be found within. […] The word romanticism means as much as if one were talking about modern art - that means intimacy, spirituality, color, inclination to the infinite, expressed through means available to art. "1

Romantic painting in Germany

Philipp Otto Runge - pioneer of German romanticism

→ Philipp Otto Runge

Philipp Otto Runge died in 1810 and can be addressed as a pioneer of Romanticism. Runge was friends with Ludwig Thieck. The departure from classicism led him to complex compositions in which nature as the revelation of God was at the center. Runge wanted to make the immanent meaning of nature visible again in symbolic representations. He used children as geniuses and represented ghosts. The “romanticization of the world” (Novalis) is a reconstruction of its original meaning. Runge dreamed of creating complex, allegorically charged visual ensembles for a public space. However, his works were too complex and charged with symbolic content (esoteric) to be generally understood.

"Now I think that in such a way that with all flower compositions the human feeling that belongs to it is always painted, people would have to gradually get used to thinking it also always to it. That could of course not be achieved so quickly, but that's why I also think that I never wanted to make a flower composition without figures for my lifetime. "2 (Philipp Otto Runge)

Friedrich Schlegel:

“A hieroglyph, a divine symbol should be every painting that can truly be called that; But the only question is whether the Mahler should create his allegory himself, or should he follow the old symbols that are given and sanctified by tradition and that, properly understood, would like to be deep and sufficient enough? - The first way is certainly the more dangerous, and success can be roughly foreseen if it were to be attempted by several who would not all have grown equally [...]. But it would be safer to follow the old painters entirely, especially the oldest, and to faithfully follow up on the only right and naive until it became a different nature to the eyes and the mind. If the style of the old German school was chosen as the model, both would be united, as it were, the each, the sure path of the old truth and the hieroglyphic. "3 (Friedrich Schlegel, 1805)

Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich - one of the most famous romantics - benefited from the anti-Napoleonic mood in Germany during the wars of liberation and led landscape painting to a new high point.

Joseph Stieler

Joseph Stieler (also: Joseph Karl Stieler) was a Bavarian court painter between 1820 and 1855 and shaped portrait painting in Munich not only with the help of state portraits of the regents, but also with the so-called beauty gallery for the residence. His most famous portrait, however, is the portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven from 1820 in Vienna (→ Joseph Stieler: Ludwig van Beethoven). In his portraits, Stieler combined a painting trained in classicism (soft flesh and detailed depiction of the fabrics) with a romantic staging of the beauties to be depicted.

Nazarenes | Luke covenant

The Nazarenes with their conservative utopia celebrated their first successes during the restoration period, formed a school and had successors. The Nazarenes worked in a close group and cultivated history painting, inspired by the works of Albrecht Dürer and Raffael.

Düsseldorf School of Painting

→ Düsseldorf School of Painting

With the Munich Cornelius School and the Düsseldorf School of Painting, initiated by Wilhelm von Schadow, two of the most influential artistic movements emerged from the Nazarenes and had a lasting impact on painting in the 19th century. In landscape painting, alongside Johann Wilhelm Schirmer and Lessing, the Achenbach brothers dominated, with Oswald specializing in Italian views and his brother Andreas immortalizing the local regions (→ Andreas Achenbach: landscape painting from Düsseldorf).

Carl Spitzweg

Carl Spitzweg from Munich is one of the most famous painters of the late Romantic period in Germany. As an autodidact, she decided in the early 1830s to switch from pharmacy to painting. By the end of the decade he had already developed his most famous compositions: "The poor poet", quirky scientists and office workers, hedonistic monks and small townspeople in vain in love symbolize the society of his time for Spitzweg, which he met with great irony in his small-format paintings.

Romantic painting in France

The first signs of a change in style can be seen in France during the 1810s. During the reign of Napoleon, Jacques-Louis David shaped academic painting with state portraits and history paintings. The now beginning history painting shows idealized, mostly small-format compositions from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, which is referred to as "style troubadour". The content is often more intimate and anecdotal, but there are also highly dramatic scenes. The lives of revered artists such as those of Raphael or Leonardo da Vinci are reconstructed as well as those of rulers or fictional characters. In the middle of the 19th century, romanticism was reflected in academic history painting (salon painting). Théodore Géricault, Eugène Delacroix, Ingres, Richard Parkes Bonington, Paul Delaroche are the most important painters of the Romantic period in France.

Victor Hugo

The important French author devoted himself to drawing - literally “between two verses” - while he was writing: Victor Hugo. The black romantic His gloomy landscapes in sepia (dark brown ink) and black ink reflect the atmosphere of his novels without referring to them in terms of motif. The romantic can be found primarily in the subjects: Gothic castles, decaying ruins, wild nature, roaring sea with ships, etc. In recent years, special attention has been given to his handling of transfer plates and stencils. André Breton already valued Hugo's work with the unplanned, his search for the mysterious.

Romanticism painting and graphics in Great Britain

British Romantic Art was shaped by three painters: William Blake, William Turner and John Constable. Turner and Constable, two landscape painters, are among the leading artists of their generation, while William Blake's Ibskure work was little known among contemporaries.

William Turner

The child prodigy William Turner was trained as a history painter at the Royal Academy of Arts. Already elected a member at the age of 24, he became a full member of the venerable association two years later. William Turner saw himself as the successor to the Old Masters throughout his life, beginning with Titian, the Marian painters of the Dutch Golden Age and, above all, culminating with Claude Lorrain. Whose atmospheric treatment of the landscape influenced the artistic development of William Turner intensively, especially after he was able to travel to Italy for the first time. The mature and late work of the British landscape painter is so bright and dominated by mist of color that the dissolution of the forms increasingly attracted critics as well. Representations of the sea and mist earned Turner a reputation for pioneering abstract art.

William Blake

William Blake was a painter, printmaker, poet, visionary and natural mystic who created some of the most famous and iconic images in English art history. The romantic is famous for his radical and rebellious views. William Blake is considered to be the inventor of the relief etching, with which he implemented enigmatic narratives. Since Blake rejected the official Christian teachings, he developed a personal cosmos, a subjective mythology, to which he put visually powerful formulations in words and pictures aside. The fact that he was not persecuted may have something to do with the fact that he was considered a peculiar eccentric. It was only the Pre-Raphaelites who discovered the work of William Blake, which to this day eludes interpretation. This dimension in particular is still fascinating today, as it made Blake one of the main representatives of romanticism but also of individualism.

Published by from May 16, 2021
Charles Baudelaire, Salon de 1846, in: Charles Baudelaire, Œuvres complétes, ed. v. C. Pichois, Paris 1961, pp. 878–880, quoted from Worlds of Romanticism (exhib.-cat. Albertina), Vienna 2015, […]
Published by from May 15, 2021
Caspar David Friedrich's landscapes and their models in the 17th and 18th centuries are at the center of this exhibition project - in cooperation with the Kunst Museum Winterthur (summer / autumn 2023).
Published by from March 10, 2021
The exhibition focuses on the artists' desire to convey the immediacy of nature observed firsthand. The small-format oil sketch, painted directly in front of the motif, became an important factor in the development of romantic landscape painting during the 1820s.
Published by from December 20, 2020
The focus of the exhibition is on Romantic paintings from the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow and the Albertinum of the State Art Collections in Dresden, for example by Caspar David Friedrich, Carl Gustav Carus, Alexei Wenezianow and Alexander Andrejewitsch Iwanow.
Published by from December 16, 2020
The cabinet exhibition shows Goya's impressive art of etching and contrasts his works with selected examples by Manet.
Published by from October 23, 2020
In the summer of 2021, the Alte Nationalgalerie is showing an exhibition by the painter and scientist Johann Erdmann Hummel (1769–1852). The "Perspective Bumblebee" is known today for its precise portrayals of modern Berlin architecture.
Published by Amalia Witt on February 27, 2020
Discussing romantic painters in Germany in the context of male art production of their time is the aim of this exciting exhibition at the Georg Schäfer Museum, Schweinfurt.
Published by from January 21, 2020
In spring 2020, the Uffizi will be dedicated to Giuseppe Bezzuoli (November 28, 1784– September 13, 1855), one of the most important history and portrait painters of the Romantic period in Florence.
Published by Alexandra Matzner on January 10, 2020
The 1760s are a turning point for British art. Shortly after the middle of the 18th century, the triumphant advance of Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792) and Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) began. The Musée du Luxembourg in Paris will be showing major works from Tate Britain from autumn 2019.
Published by from January 9, 2020
Carl Spitzweg (1808–1885), the main representative of late Romanticism in Bavaria, is shown in Winterthur as a mockingly loving observer of his surroundings.
Published by editorial on November 30, 2019
During his lifetime, Caspar David Friedrich had an exciting relationship with the representatives of Düsseldorf landscape painting. The artistic exchange was marked by contrasts and criticism, but also by astonishing correspondence. In the mid-1830s, Friedrich's work was increasingly overshadowed by the Düsseldorf School of Painting, which achieved national and international success with its landscape painting.
Published by editorial on November 20, 2019
The exhibition highlight of the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen b. Basel 2020 will be a retrospective of the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya! His “Witches' Sabbath” (1797/98, Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid) is an impressive, enigmatic painting and will be on display in the same way as the clothed Maja from the Prado.
Published by Alexandra Matznervon November 5, 2019
After 20 years, the LWL Museum for Art and Culture in Münster is showing a major Turner exhibition in Germany in 2019. The romantic changed the landscape of his Eopche radically and thus significantly influenced the emerging impressionists. Sublime mountains, picturesque Italy and the sea are the main themes of the show.
Published by from September 3, 2019
Masterpieces from the Kunsthalle Bremen will be shown in the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in autumn / winter 2019/20: From Delacroix to Beckmann, French and German art of fashion (Romanticism to Expressionism) will be juxtaposed.
Published by Alexandra Matzner on July 6, 2019
Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) and his music: Symphony No. 3. “Eroica”, “Hammerklavier Sonata”, “Missa Solemnis”; Documents, portraits, notes