Romanticism

Romanticism was a movement contemporary with the later stages of Neoclassicism, but had not much to do with it ideologically. It was not fundamentally opposed to Neoclassicism, as was Modernism, but it placed its emphasis differently. Romanticism focused on the spiritual aspect of humanity, concerning itself more with emotion than with rationality. While Neoclassicism took great inspiration from the very tangible Classical world, Romanticism looked back with interest on the mysterious and faraway medieval world. In the arts, there was more willingness to break with convention (a stark contrast with Neoclassicism), as well as to portray a less idealized reality. The serenity of Neoclassical landscapes was replaced with violent depictions of storms and other natural scenes that were meant to inspire emotional agitation rather than calm. In music there was the development of highly emotional “program music” that attempted to convey specific feelings. One of the best examples of this can be seen in Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique.” In accordance with the interest in the Middle Ages, Romantic architecture was subject to a Gothic revival, a great example being the Palace of Westminster. The period of Romanticism was a departure from Neoclassicism in that it valued feeling and spirituality to a far greater extent. Instead of portraying a pristine universe filled with serenity, Romanticism focused itself more on emotional experience.

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