a history of western art

from the renaissance to the present


people, terms, and concepts: expression, painterly, expressive use of color, pathetic fallacy, social criticism

Romanticism is mostly associated with the early-nineteenth century, although traces of it can be found in the late-eighteenth century as well.

          What is the main difference in intent or purpose between Neo-classicism and Romanticism? What kinds of subjects to Romantic artists choose? How do Romantic artists enhance the expressive intensity of their works through form/style, such as color, light, composition, etc.?

          What is Romantic idea of the artist? How is that idea still considered stereotypical of artists today?

•  Although this is not a universal characteristic of Romantic art, all three artists below used their art as social criticism (against the Powers That Be) as opposed to propaganda (for the Powers That Be). How so? What political or social scandal is each artist calling attention to and attempting to redress, and how?

•  Be able to recognize an obvious example of Romanticism, and analyze the work (form and subject matter) to explain how you knew.

Turner, The Slave Ship, English Romanticism, 1840

What is the story of the Slave Ship, and how is it a perfect subject for Romanticism? How does Turner use form to enhance the expressive intensity of the subject? What lesson is the work conveying, and how does Turner invoke sublime nature to help intensify that lesson?

Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa, French Romanticism, 1818-19

What is the story of the Raft, and how is it a perfect subject for Romanticism? How does Géricault use form to enhance the expressive intensity of that subject? How could the painting be seen as implicit social criticism?

Goya, The Third of May, 1808, Spanish Romanticism, 1814-15

What is the story/subject of this work, and how does Goya use form/style to make it powerfully expressive?

How is this work different from Neo-classicism in terms of its subject, its style, and attitude toward the State/government?