Movements Throughout History - Romanticism

Romanticism originated in Europe in the 19th century, focused on the glorification and conservation of the past.

Movements throughout History – Romanticism

Romanticism was a movement that can be defined by the rejection of classicism and neoclassicism, as well as the characteristics of harmony, order, rationality, calm and idealization. Romanticism was associated with the glorification of emotion, spirituality, and nature. This is the opposite of the proceeding era of Enlightenment, which was much more scientific-based. The rise of Romanticism was parallel to the Industrial Revolution. Romanticism was profoundly seen during the early 19th century and was encouraged by the existing governments of the time. Romanticism was widely manifested in various forms of art including, literature, architecture, music, and plays.


Romanticism was incorporated into the architectural designs of buildings in the 19th century. Romanticism architecture fell under several classifications including Greek revival, Gothic revival, Indo-Saracenic, and Romanesque revival. The period where romantic architecture was at its peak was also the time when many archeological discoveries were unearthing ancient civilizations including the Greek and Roman periods of antiquit. Many European countries wanted to have buildings with inspirations based on their respective historical heritage and so these old architectural designs saw a comeback on unprecedented levels. Several government buildings built during this period have romantic architectural inspirations.

Visual Arts

Romanticism was depicted by artists in their work in order to amplify the emotional aspect of the artistic piece and to bring back ancient styles such as Gothic and baroque. The movement was first expressed in landscape painting where artists were bringing out wild storms and landscapes in their pieces. Several artists who were instrumental in this period include John Constable, Claude Lorrain, William Black, among others. Several of the artists brought out mythical figures of the past in their paintings to depict the afterlife and death. In his famous painting “Liberty Leading the People” Eugene Delacroix incorporated the ancient Roman goddess, Medusa. Several magnificent sculptures made during this period had a touch of romanticism with the majority being relics of the ancient Roman artistry with principal sculptors being Auguste Preault whose masterpieces represented wars and the horrors of war.


The period often depicted when describing romanticism in music is usually between the year 1800 and 1900. While romanticism was widely incorporated into the composition of music all over the world, Germany was where it was best manifested. Romanticism in France is represented by Hector Berlioz, while in Italy is represented by Giuseppe Verdi. The compositions of Beethoven as well as Mozart and Haydn are regarded as romanticized forms of music.


Due to the fact that most romanticism arts were alterations of ancient forms of art, many critics believe that romanticism was merely a duplication of prior expressions of art and therefore could not be termed as an artistic expression.

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