Romantic Vs. Realist Art Essay

1343 words - 6 pages

IWT1 Task 1
Romantic and Realist Visual Art
Romanticism first began as an artistic movement in the early decades of the nineteenth century in France and Britain, it continued to flourish until the mid-century. One of the biggest social conditions that contributed to the Romantic Movement in Europe was the British Industrial Revolution. Manufacturing, business, and the amount of wage laborers began to soar. This period was also largely a revolt against the aristocratic social and political norms. The Romantic Period was significantly associated with liberalism and radicalism, and the long-term effect of nationalism was probably much more significant.
Romantics feared the ...view middle of the document...

Realist artists focused mainly on the aspects of right now. They emphasized that the most important things are unavoidable truths. Imperfections, common people, and the aspects of complexity were all major parts of the ideals of the realist artists. The Realistic Period was a cultural and artistic movement that occurred along late Romanticism. One of the main characteristics of Realist artists were the photographic attention to details in their works of art. The major growth in the implementation of machine power led to the growth of large factories. The owners of the factories became wealthy, while the lower working class worked long hours for extremely low wages. Realists tried to portray art in such a way that they captured the experiences and struggles of the common people; they did this to gain awareness of the social and economic injustices. Overall, it was an attempt to spur social and economic reform.
The Realist movement thrived from about 1840 up until the late 19th century. It first emerged in the aftermath of the Revolution of 1848 that ended the monarchy of Lois-Philippe and continued to develop during the Second Empire under Napoleon III. During this time the Realists democratized art by depicting subjects from the working classes everyday activities.
Two of the most defining events in the 1930’s The Great Depression and the continuing rise of Fascism in Europe caused many artists to adopt much more realistic styles of painting. Realist artists felt the need to produce a much more socially conscious art. (Visual Arts; 2014)
Romanticism vs. Realism

In a lot of ways Romanticism and Realism seem to be complete opposites. While Romantic artists most commonly emphasized imagination, the artists own visions, and fantasy, Realism tried to accurately portray the life of the common people. In most ways they are like day and night. Romanticisms major focus was imagination, while Realism focused on a harsh reality of the world. One of the biggest differences between the two movements is the level of reality or lack of. Romanticism portrays supernatural elements like mythology in their art, while Realism themes reflect the real world and its main focus was mundane issues.
While almost complete opposites, Romantics and Realists were alike in the way that both the movements were brought on by reactions to social conditions coming from the industrial revolution. Realism and Romanticism varied in the way of visual goals and political agenda. Both movements evolved and shaped the affairs of the state. They both led to social change, they however had different compositional goals.
Realism continued to deviate from the artistic style of Romanticism of imagination and mythology by continuing to depict “real life”. Realistic artists continued to believe that art should show the truth, they often chose subjects that were regarded as not important.

John Constable and Honoré Daumier
In reaction to the highly subjective approach of...

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