Romanticism: Literature & Art

Romanticism was a transatlantic movement, including not just literature, but also painting and music. As we look at these images, consider the "5 I's":

and how they are represented in some of these images.

Many point to Germany as an early source of Romanticism in both literature and painting. For instance, this painting:


"Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" 1818

by Caspar David Friedrich (1774 - 1840), a German Romantic landscape painter.



Romanticism thrived in England, too. Many point to the pubication of William Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads in 1792 as the beginning of literary romanticism. English painters were also on board:


"The Hay Wain" 1821

John Constable (1776 - 1837) English Romantic Painter


And of course, in America too, painters were getting their Romanticism on. Landscape painting was particularly popular, so long as those landscapes expressed THE SUBLIME: a aesthetic sense of greatness and vastness that creates in the viewer a feeling of fear or terror. Places like Niagra Falls were prime spots for Romantic sightseers becaus of this belief in the beauty (and terror) of nature's power. Even more local sites in the U.S. proved to fit Romantic ideals of the sublime, as we see in this paining of Pawtucket Falls here in Lowell:

"Pawtucket Falls" 1833

Alvan Fisher (1792 - 1863), American Landscape painter.



Thomas Cole is probably the most famous of the American Romantic painters:


"Romantic Landscape with Ruined Tower" 1832-36

Thomas Cole (1801 - 1848) English-born American artist


Cole was a part of the Hudson River School, a group of Romantic painters who took the Hudson and New York state more generally as their subject matter. A key figure within this group was John Quidor, who was also a close personal friend of Washington Irving, who wrote in his stories about the very same geographic area. Quidor in turn, made paintings featuring scenes from Irving's stories:


"The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane." 1858

John Quidor (1901 - 1881) American painter (and friend of Washington Irving)



"The Return of Rip van Winkle" 1849

John Quidor (1801 - 1881) American painter



This page created by: Bridget M. Marshall, Department of English, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Images from Wikimedia Commons; all images are out of copyright and used as "fair use" for educational purposes.