Romanticism began in the late 18th century. It is an art and literature movement focusing on subjectivity, inspiration, and the primacy of man. The romantic and industrial era started at the same time when consumer goods became cheaper as food production increased. (Brett).
The movement, meant to challenge the enlightenment notion that emphasize empirical evidence, rational thought, and science. Thus, life mysteries could be revealed through intuition, imagination, and emotion. It focuses more on life with abundant in spirituality, free expression and deep feelings which invokes artist to strive to capture these ideas in their works. As such, this paper chooses to focus on one of the romantic artworks to illustrate that apart from love and desire, they concentrated on the value of humans and how they possess boundless god-like capabilities.
A good example can be demonstrated by Caspar David Friedrich’s 1818 painting, Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog.
Figure 1: Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog
The painting attempts to convey the immeasurable potential of humans. Moreover, it conveys the awesomeness of humans together with the mysterious splendor of nature. The prevalent Romantic theme of human prominence is contrasted with the power and sublimity of nature (Adams 420). As portrayed in the artwork, a man managed to climb high enough and perhaps conquering much in the process. However, he discovers that there are endless views, masked in a fog, shrouds whatever lies beyond. At this stage, the painting depicts humans as full of potential but still there is much to be conquered. Overall, one prominent theme in most of the romantics artworks entails the infinite potential of human beings. They have the abilities to discover new things, yet there is still much to be explored. Caspar David Friedrich’s painting is an actual depiction of this theme.
Adams, Laurie Schneider. Art Across Time . 4. Vol. 2. McGraw-Hill Education, 2010.
Brett, and Kate McKay. “The Basics of Art: The Romantic Period.” 3 March 2011. 13 September 2017.
Esaak, Shelley. “Romanticism – Art History.” 16 August 2017. 13 September 2017.