Taylor Kennedy, Art History major at Winthrop University, ARTH 480 Independent Study with Dr. Laura Rinaldi Dufresne. “Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor in exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” Charles Baudelaire



The individual, the irrational, the emotional, the transcendental; this is the embodiment of “Romanticism”. This is a blog constructed as an independent study with Dr. Dufresne at Winthrop University about portraits of Romanticism and my personal thoughts on the portraits. Romanticism was an artistic movement that gained momentum in France and Britain in the early decades of the 19th century. Preceded by the Enlightment, Romanticism rejected the order and reason of the time in favor of imagination and emotion. Interest was focused on the individual, the pure emotions that came with being human. Portraits became ways of expressing a range of psychological and emotional states rather than records of individual likeness. Nature,too, with its uncontrollable and powerful characteristics became subject matter in many artworks. A stormy background in a portrait now became a way of expressing inner turmoil within one’s self. No longer were portraits just for those of a higher class, now portraits were exalting common people as well showing that there was a higher purpose for all people, not just those with wealth. Rich color and energetic brushwork was a common practice with dramatic and emotive subject matter. Portraits showed the struggle of being human and the emotions that are evoked with the inner self. This blog will hopefully be a glimpse into Romanticism and the portraits that came from this time period. Some artists of Romanticism include: William Blake, J. M. W. Turner, Francisco Goya, Caspar David Friedrich, Eugene Delacroix, Gustave Dore, Henry Fuseli, John Constable and many others.


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