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The Age of Romanticism

An Age of Passion, Rebellion, Individuality, Imagination, Intuition, Idealism, and Creativity

The Age of Romanticism

Several centuries B.C., Plato described humans as a careful balance of reason, passions, and appetites, with reason as the guide. The Age of Reason elevated reason, but perhaps suppressed passions too much. For some, the emphasis on reason had gotten out of balance with the rest of human nature.

Age of Reason v. Age of Romanticism

Descartes: Cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I exist.) Rousseau: Exister, pour nous, cest sentir (For us, to exist is to feel.)

Qualities of Romanticism
Love of Nature Idealization of Rural Living Faith in Common People Emphasis on Freedom and Individualism Spontaneity, intuition, feeling, imagination, wonder Passionate individual religiosity Life after death; Organic view of the World


Love of Nature Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part / Of me and my soul, as I of them? Byron [A mountain is] the type of a majestic intellect, . . . There I beheld the emblem of a giant mind that feeds upon infinity. Wordsworth

Nature in the raw, wild state.



Casper Friedrich

The Wanderer above the Mists 1817-8

John Constable Seascape w/ Rain Cloud

Idealization of rural living

I met a little Cottage Girl: / She was eight years old, she said; / Her hair was thick with many a curl / That clustered round her head. / She had a rustic, woodland air, / An she was wildly clad: / Her eyes were fair, and very fair; / --Her beauty made me glad. Wordsworth

Idealization of rural living

Millet: Gleaners

The exaltation of a simple honest life

Jean-Francois Millet

Woman Baking Bread 1853-4



Marie-Guillemine Benoist

Portrait of a Negress

Paul Gaugin

Miraculous Source

The Exotic

Arab Being attacked by a Lion

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

Le Grande Odalisque 1814

Turkish Harem Girl

The Exotic

Algerian Women

The Exotic

Theodore Chasseriau Cossack woman

Faith in Common People

For theres not a man that lives who hath not known his god-like hours Wordsworth Man is as a god, though in the germ. Browning

Honore Daumier 1862--realism

The Common People

An Orphan

Faith in Common People

Gustave Courbet 1849

Emphasis on Freedom and Individualism
Political freedom--American and French Revolution(liberty, equality, fraternity); antislavery and womens suffrage movements

Men of England, wherefore plough / For the lords who lay ye low? / Wherefore weave with toil and care / The rich robes your tyrants wear? . . . . . . . . . . . Wherefore, Bees of England, forge / Many a weapon, chain, and scourge, / . . . . . . / Sow seed,-but let no tyrant reap; / Find wealth,--let no imposter heap; Shelley

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Thoreau

Commoners seeking their rights.

Eugene Delacroix

Liberty Leading the People

The Raft of the Medussa - 1818

Theodore Gericault

Francisco de Goya

Execution of the Citizens of Madrid, 3 May 1808 1814

Spontaneity, intuition, feeling, imagination, wonder Jesus was all virtue, and acted from impulse, not from rules. Blake [Poetry] is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling and is put into art from emotion recollected in tranquility. Wordsworth

Passionate individual religiosity

Protestant view of each man his own intermediary with Christ Transcendentalism Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that calld Body is a portion of Soul discernd by the five senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age. William Blake


Life after death Organic view of the world


Dante and Virgil in Hell 1822

William Waterhouse The Lady of Shallot

Romanticism: A Poetic Age

Wordsworth-- [Poetry is] the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility. Hazlitt--[poetry is] the language of imagination and the passions. Shelley--[poetry redeems from decay] the visitations of the divine in man. Keats--[If poetry] comes not as naturally as the Leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.

Romanticism: A Poetic Age

Popular forms: blank verse, the ballad, the short lyric, Rime Royal stanzas, Spenserian stanzas, the sonnet Meter: lines were often enjambed, loose, with a free use of caesura and other spontaneous breaks in patterns.

. . . spinning still/ The rapid line of motion, then at once/ Have I, reclining back upon my heels,/ Stopped short; yet still the solitary cliffs/ Wheeled by me -- . . . (Wordsworth-- The Prelude)

Gothic Models Replace Greco-Roman Architecture

Flying Buttressesback of Notre Dame

Gothic Architecture

Pauls Church---Princeton

Gothic Architecture Princeton University Chapel

Romantic Music