History Of American Romanticism
Romanticism is a movement that encompasses the fields of visual art, architecture, music and literature. This movement characterized by creative and cerebral skills originated in Europe in the late 18th century. The movement commenced in approximately 1828 in America. The onset of the Civil War marked the end of romanticism and the beginning of realism.
The movement was presumably a reaction against the revolutionary period that emphasized on reasoning and traditionalism. Romanticism brought the purity of nature and mankind into focus. Reasoning was overshadowed by passion and the concept of romantic hero came into limelight. This character symbolized youth, sentiments and intuition. Romanticism enhanced the accomplishments of individuals and artists who were looked upon as heroes in the social set up. The artists of this regime believed and propagated the 5 Is that stood for Imagination, Intuition, Innocence, Inner Experience, and Inspiration from nature and the supernatural.
The Romantic Movement entered into the American society as a revolt against the neo-classical philosophy of rationale and order in art. The effect of this movement was also noticeable in both Literary and Visual arts. In America this movement was initially derived from the aesthetic ideology of German transcendentalists and Romantics such as Goethe, Kant, Schiller, and Hegel, and from the literary principles of British authors such as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Byron. A name that stands out in aiding the movement develop its own character in the country is that of the transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Romantic gothic literature entered into the United States with Washington Irving's ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ in 1820 and ‘Rip Van Winkle’ 1819. This was followed by the Leatherstocking Tales of James Fenimore Cooper from 1823 onwards. This work projected the descriptions of heroism and landscape.
In the visual art scenario, the paintings produced by the Hudson River School broke all restrictions of the conventional philosophies. Artists such as Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church shined in this form of art personifying their radical notions with a blend of religious and philosophical themes. Thomas Cole's painting series entitled The Voyage of Life created in the early 1840s is an outstanding work truly reflecting the ideals of Romanticism.
Towards the latter half of the 19th century, another movement called Realism with a philosophy contrary to Romanticism came into focus.
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