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Romanticism arose in Europe at the late 18th century. It is considered the result of development and rethinking of the classicism.
Unlike classicism with its strive for harmonious ideal and moderation, the main leitmotif of romanticism was a personality, the conflict between internal awareness of one’s essence and the reality, the requirements of the society. The struggle and craving for freedom, the person’s attempt to break free, to flee away from the ossified and unjust dogmas of the time – these were the main themes of the romanticist paintings. The unruly nature, the elements, images of animals in the midst of action like hunting also belonged to the domain of romanticist artists. Wishing to emphasize these conflicts, the artists did not reject the classical principles, but expanded them.
The stylistics of romanticism is expressed through brighter colours and contrasts, dynamic expression, sometimes neglecting the strict standards of perspective and composition.
The first canvases of Romanticism were painted in England, and they were mostly landscapes. Romanticism finally formed at the beginning of the 19th century in France riding the wave of turbulent historical events of the revolution and Napoleonic rule.
By the end of the first third of the 19th century, romanticism became one of the main European art movements of the time, and it was successfully adopted in the United States. In the second half of the 19th century, it was gradually supplanted by academism and impressionism.
The drama, allegories and mysticism, characteristic of the subjects of romanticist artists, had a great influence on the further development of painting.
The traces of romanticism can be seen in symbolism, post-impressionism, modernism, and even in surrealism.