Romanticism and Realism

• At the end of the eighteenth century, a new intellectual
movement, known as romanticism, emerged as a reaction
to the ideas of the Enlightenment.
• The romantics emphasized feelings, emotion, and
imagination as sources of knowing.
• How is this different from Enlightenment thinkers?
• Romantics valued individualism, the belief in the
uniqueness of each person.
• They rebelled against middle-class conventions.
• Men grew long hair and beards and both men and
women wore outrageous clothes to express their
• Romantics influenced architecture, art, literature, music etc.
• Romantic architects revived medieval architecture and built castles, cathedrals, city halls, parliamentary
buildings (Houses of Parliament in London) and even railway states in a neo-gothic style.
• To Romantic artists all art was a reflection of the artist’s inner feelings. A painting should mirror the
artist’s vision of the world and be the instrument of the artist’s own imagination.
• They abandoned classical reason for warmth and emotion.
• Eugene Delacroix was one of the most famous romantic painters from France. He believed that “a
painting should be a feast to the eye.”
• Literature was deeply affected by Romanticism. Writers like Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe wrote
using a Gothic style.
• Shelley’s Frankenstein and Poe’s The Raven gave chilling examples of this literary style.
• To many romantics, music was the most romantic of the
arts, because it enabled the composer to probe deeply
into human emotions.
• The 19th century is sometimes called the age of
• Ludwig van Beethoven was the bridge between classical
and romantic periods of music.
• In biology, Louis Pasteur proposed the germ theory of disease, which was crucial to the development of
modern scientific medical practices. He also invented a vaccine for rabies.
• In Chemistry, the Russian Dmitry Mendeleyev in the 1860s classified all the material elements then
known on the basis of their atomic weight. He created his own version of the periodic table.
• Europeans began to have a growing faith in Science which lead to increasing secularization.
• In 1859, Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. He taught
that plants and animals had evolved over a long period of time from earlier and simpler forms of life.
• This principle is called organic evolution.
• Darwin also believed in natural selection. The belief that there was a struggle for existence and that
some organisms were more adaptable than others. (survival of the fittest)
• Those that are naturally selected for survival will reproduce and thrive. The unfit do not survive.
• In The Descent of Man, Darwin argued that humans had animal origins and were not an exception to
the rule governing other species.
• His ideas were very controversial.
• The view that the world should be viewed
realistically, a view frequently expressed after 1850,
was closely related to the scientific outlook.
• Realism became a movement in literature, visual
arts, and politics.
• Realists rejected the views of romanticism.
• Literary realists wanted to write about ordinary characters from actual life rather than romantic heroes
in exotic settings.
• They tried to avoid emotional language by using precise description.
• They also preferred novels to poems.
• Two famous realist authors were Gustave Flaubert from France and Charles Dickens from Britain.
Flaubert is best known for Madame Bovary while Dickens wrote classics such as A Christmas Carol and A
Tale of Two Cities.
• Realist artists sought to show the everyday life of ordinary people and the world of nature with photographic realism.
• Gustave Courbet was the most famous artist of the realist school.
• His subjects were factory workers, peasants, and the wives of saloon keepers.
• “I have never seen either angels or goddesses, so I am not interested in painting them.”
• Impressionist art is a style in which the artist captures the image of an object as someone would see it if
they just caught a glimpse of it.
They paint the pictures with a lot of color and most of their pictures are outdoor scenes.
• Their pictures are very bright and vibrant.
The artists like to capture their images without detail but with bold colors.
• Some of the more famous impressionist artists include Edouard Manet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
• Visual arts style of the 20th century created principally by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in Paris
between 1907 and 1914.
• It emphasized the flat, two-dimensional surface of the picture plane, rejecting the traditional
techniques of perspective, foreshortening and modeling.
• Cubist painters were not bound to copying form, texture, color, and space
• Cubists presented a new reality in paintings that depicted radically fragmented objects, whose several
sides were seen simultaneously.