Essay Preparation – Romanticism

Today we have been learning a new subject within graphic design known as Romanticism, a theme which will become very important/helpful for our essay later down the line.

Romanticism is a classical form of art/literary/music which emphasises the glorification of both the past and nature and often has themes of the smallness of man compared to the hugeness of the world around us. Romanticism was mostly (if not purely) created in response of the Industrial Revolution, as well as other critical points at the time such as the Age of Enlightenment and the new appearance of scientific research and rationalisation of nature.

These new ages sprouted various themes from artists who romanticised various new ideas and concepts from their arrival. The main goal created by these artists was to emphasise intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience which would cause such reactions as  apprehension, horror and awe (especially in the new concepts on the sublimity and beauty of nature.

Here is an example of a piece of romanticised artwork:

“The Nightmare” by Henry Fuseli

This painting Henry Fuseli is an obvious attempt at creating the feeling of horror, although it was not so much as an attempt but a full scale success as both patrons and critics alike have praised this piece of romanticism due to how well it fulfils its role of infecting a sense of fear and discomfort within its viewers while still keeping them intrigued by its message. The image itself depicts a woman laying unconscious on a bed while a small, ape-like incubus is crouching atop her belly, and a disturbing horse-like creature watches from behind a curtain.

The likely forms of romanticism within this painting are all likely to be aimed around the feeling of dread when experiencing a nightmare. The incubus sitting on the woman’s stomach is likely referring to the feeling of suffocation one gets when induced in a nightmare. The incubus itself may be in reference to how people believed how demons and spirits were the causes of nightmares. The woman position may refer to an old belief that this position in be would make you susceptible to bad dreams, as well as depict a feeling of helplessness against the events happening. The horse (mare) itself may actually just refer to the word night”mare” itself.

“The Sea of Ice” by Casper David Friedrich

This is another example of romanticised artwork we explored during the lesson. This piece is a depiction of the wreckage of the HMS Griper, which was lost during an expedition to the north pole during 1824. However, the main aspect of this painting is mostly focused on the frozen landscape of the area around the wreck, which (as named by the title) is nothing but a sea of snow, ice and jagged ice rocks created by both the ships crash and natural conditions.



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