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Paintings in Romanticism and Classicism

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Romanticism and classicism both focus on art, philosophy and literature, though their approaches were largely different. Therefore, they focus on the same subject matter but provide contrasting perspectives and points of view. Romanticism, on its part, was a movement that revolutionized humanity’s perception of nature, art and humanity itself (Pateman, n.p.). Romanticism also focuses on the spiritual and moral development of the individual. Classicism, on the other hand, is rather laid back and does not venture into the unknown. It sticks to the ideals of the society and does not attempt to explore beyond the norms of the society. The two movements have distinct differences and certain forms of art, such as architecture and paintings, accentuate these differences beyond any doubt.

Paintings are very popular expressions of both romanticism and classicism. Romantic art centers on the idealistic, spiritual and fictional art. A typical romanticism painting would depict an aesthetic heavenly object surrounded by a tranquil landscape. This object would have edges that are soft and undefined. Moreover, the artist would employ gentle and free flowing techniques, mimicking those of the brush-strokes. This is one major aspect of romanticism. It brings out the fact that the movement portrays an individual existing in a harmonic environment, and without any disturbance (Hume, n.p.).

Classical paintings, on the other hand, do not venture into elements of fantasy but sticks to the harsh realities of life. These paintings portray images that may not inspire individuals, but are realistic and even pleasant. In addition, the objects in these paintings exhibit straight lines, which, in most cases, are dull in color. The surrounding of the image is usually not glorified, but rather represents an accurate depiction of human society. The implication here is that classicism had the effect of jolting humanity back to reality. Humanity had made a deliberate attempt to escape the reality and this was checked by classicism. It is for this reason that classicism portrays objects they way they are in real life (Hume, n.p.).

The two movements, romanticism and classicism, are therefore, radically different from each other in their approach to issues. Romanticism marked the period in man’s history in which humanity sought to portray its existence in a larger than life version. Humanity sought to be a peace with itself and nature. This could have arisen from the frustration springing from the switch to capitalistic mode of economy in many parts of the world. However, it is not possible for one to completely escape the harsh realities of life because sooner or later, one would have to confront them. Classicism, therefore, sought to purge individuals of the feelings of frustration and alienation that were occasioned by capitalism.

Paintings in romanticism and classicism clearly bring out the radical differences in the perspectives that the two movements advance. Whereas romanticism is rooted in spirituality and the moral development of the individual, classicism portrays the reality of life. Romanticism uses images that have undefined edges but on a heavenly backdrop, creating the impression of glory. Classicism, on the other hand, presents brutal images that shove individuals back into the real world (Pateman, n.p.).

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