Free Essay from Our Collection: Romanticism vs. Realism

Published: 2022-07-19
Free Essay from Our Collection: Romanticism vs. Realism
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Literature Art
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1596 words
14 min read

Romanticism and realism are two distinct literary movements that relate closely to history and time. However, they differ based on political agenda and visual goals. The variation between romanticism and realism imply that their inspirations originate from styles of writing in the past, but all respond to the change in the political atmosphere. Romanticism encompassed art, literature, and thoughts of people in the eighteenth century (Tansey and Kleiner, 956). Furthermore, romanticism erupted by the time the industrial revolution firmly took ground in Europe.

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Over time, people got inclined into knowing why things are happening to segregate their thoughts from the supernatural claims of existence. It is during the 19th century that realism came to exist, and people became more confident in scientific explanations rather than quixotic points in romanticism. Realism strongly opposed Romanticism and brought into existence a new style, "although it came into being slowly and at first combined with some of the qualities of romanticism, and realism eventually became the dominant style of art during the middle part of the nineteenth century" (Tansey and Kleiner, 957). Different writers have escalated to fame through writing impactful literature fitting their styles of writing and the literary movement in which they got ensconced. The goal of this paper is to show that current scholarship portrays revolutionized techniques of arts in romanticism and realism movements and to differentiate them.

Romanticism and Realism movements came as a result of the surge to restore and revolutionize the state politically. However, each change used different tools in explaining the social dynamic of the era. According to Stokstad, "romantics argued that humans possess deep and not always rational longings for self-expression, understanding, and identification with their fellows" (Stokstad, 988). The point is that romantic people are attentive on matters of the power of the monarchy and the idealism of the mind.

On the contrary, Realism has focused on everyday man struggles. "Before 1848, ordinary people had only been shown in the modestly scaled paintings, while monumental canvases had been reserved for heroic subjects and pictures of the powerful" (Stokstad, 1018). The implication is that Realism depicts the hardship lifestyle in the rural areas. In as much as they Romanticism and Realism use different techniques in clarifying the social life of man, they both indicate the change in the political life of the Europeans. Two articles are analyzed in this paper to illustrate the effects of Romanticism and Realism on social and political aspects of people's lives. Emphasis will be laid on arguments, rationale and strength and weaknesses from the writings by the authors.

Fascinating ideas spring from the work by George R. Havens, "Romanticism in France," published in 1940. Havens touches on the social and political influences which mounted to the Romantic Movement in France. In his statement, "it is evident that a new prose style, written for the eye and the ear, and not primarily for the intellect has been born," suggest how Romanticism erupted in France (Havens, 13). Moreover, Havens mentions that France put forefront other states literary works as its terms. The implication is that Romanticism in France resulted from the adoption of other European states works to embellish it distinct originality. French Revolution and Napoleon's reign drove in the Romanticism which was suppressed in France. However, they couldn't diminish it popularization springing among the Frenchmen. Havens point out that, "Temporarily, indeed, the Revolution seems to have checked the development of Romanticism. With the decline of Revolutionary ardor, Napoleon had fought his way to power and laid his iron hand upon through and literature under the Empire" (Havens, 12), "but the revolution also had a positive influence in sweeping away the dead wood of the past and the Salons could not prevent its popularity with the general public" (Havens 13). The outlay is that Romanticism could not be suppressed however much Napoleon enforced vigilance in implementing rules.

Havens describe Napoleon's design in France to have favored Classicism as a result of the first viewpoint of ruling through autocracy. In addition to that, Napoleon wanted to impose old ruling since it was dictatorial and predictable. "Although in earlier years he had paced up and down in his tent enthusiastically declaiming Ossian, later he threw his support to classic taste, which was already evident in much of the oratory of the revolution" (Havens, 12). The statement supports the argument because the statement indicates leaders can influence the social and political lives of people in the nation. Furthermore, Havens clarified that people were fade up with Classic thought and needed a change in the way of ruling. "The revolution has created a new public, a public tired of old forms of classic actions" (Havens 13).

The rationale is that Havens bases arguments on the importance of Romanticism to the people of France. He states that people were tired of old dictatorial ruling and needed change. Haves says that "an effort is made, not merely to narrate, to analyze, the past, but to evoke it, to make it spring to life before the reader's eyes. This is another important accomplishment of romanticism" (Haves 15). On the contrary, the Haves rationale directly compares the North of France to the South. The comparison is not substantial since it fails to bring out the Romantic Movement as a whole.

Realism is as essential as Romanticism concerning political and social revolution. "The Self Pictured: Manet, the Mirror, and the Occupation of Realist Painting" written by Gregory Galligan display Realism. He explores current forms of the methodology used by painters like Edward Manet to aid adoption of Realism from Romanticism. Galligan states that "Manet's self-portraits of 1878 are doubly important. While both pictures present the painter reflecting on his success in society, perhaps they are more significant for how to paint Manet as an implacable peripatetic of visual cognition" Galligan 138). The author elaborates that reflection is ideal for the success of the realism movement as self-portraiture reflected in paintings. The point is that Realists apply the concept of reflective mirror in ways which led to a remarkable shift in visual theory, but we're still in Classical and Romanticism arts. "We might now appreciate the visual import for Manet of Titan's Venus of Urbino of 1538, which Manet copied during a trip to Florence in 1857" (Galligans 159). The author shows how Romantic arts were influential in Manet Realist agenda. The argument backs up the thesis by showing how the reflection got adopted by Realists to transform Manet's ways of thinking.

Logical deduction from the argument is that mirror in the painting of Manet plays the viewer's role. Galligan states that "most important, this mode of looking ultimately places the viewer in an, especially problematic position: although standing before the canvas, the beholder is implicitly situated within the field of representation in conflation with the objects or model depicted" (Galligan, 159). The statement shows how remarkable shift occurred in the Realism movement by applying different angles and focal points just as Manet used different optical angles in reflection concept. There is strong emphasis about Realism movement overtaking Romanticism in the arts in Manet's paintings. It comes out that Olympia is at the point of viewer role just as it happens in the real locations in the level of the plane. Realism in Galligan's articles points out with a strong emphasis on the significance of revolution. Transformation into original from being based on fictions is actively under the address in the Realism. By pointing to how important being realistic, it gave more power to move away from old ways of thinking and based firmly on the current situation. However, it appears insignificant to refer to the 17th-century arts in demonstrating the reality in life. Over time, things have changed and whatever was in the past centuries may not work in the current situation.

In the article "The Necklace," the author Maupaussant is in strong affection with his mentor, Flaubert, who held the stance that fiction should deliver reality accurately. He seeks more objectivity rather than quixotic descriptions. However, the reasons that are calling fictions realistic is incorrect and divert attention into calling any fiction work an illusion. His trust on observations and belief on facts was with undivided attention, and in "The Necklace," it is demonstrated how Maupaussant's fictions and facts came into existence as differentiated by the observations he made. Instead of exploring Mathilde's enthusiasm for wealth or discontentment with her life, he talks about her unhappiness and all her aspirations. At the end of it all, he gives no psyche and explanation regarding her excellent narration. It comes out that living real life is essential for every individuals' peace. Contentment with what someone has is the way to go, and the solution to problems is his or her duty. Even though Mathilde revealed a lot to Maupaussant, he had no clue on the way she should take into a peaceful life, but still told that her expectations if achieved will grant her happiness.

In conclusion, Romanticism and Realism are instrumental in changing the ways of thinking and transform the society. As depicted in Romanticism, every expectation of a person is fulfilling in life but putting them into reality and moving away from fiction grants happiness.

Works Cited

Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History: Fourteenth to seventeenth-century art. Vol. 4. Pearson College Div, 2008.

Havens, George R. "Romanticism in France." Publications of the Modern Language Association of America (1940): 10-20.

Galligan, Gregory. "The self-pictured: Manet, the mirror, and the occupation of realist painting." The Art Bulletin 80.1 (1998): 138-171.

Tansey, Richard G., and Fred S. Kleiner. Gardner's Art Through the Ages: Ancient, Medieval, and non-European art. Harcourt Brace College Pub., 1996.

Maupassant, Guy de. "The necklace." The Short-Story: Specimens Illustrating Its Development (1907).

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