Age of Enlightenment

Lets take a journey. A journey back to a time and a place that is unknown to us without the history and expression of Literature and Art. These moments are the expression of color, the fine detail, the heroics, and the stories that bring us to our current and most knowledgeable time in literature and the arts. Neoclassicism and Romanticism are two very important time periods in the literary movements in English literature that helped shape our way of life today. Although these time periods are recognized as very opposite they share many similarities and we continue to learn and grow from them.

Lets go back… To a new era, widespread and influential for paintings and the other visual arts, a reaction against the sensuous and frivolously decorative Rococo style that dominated European art from the 1720s on. Beginning in the 1760s, Neoclassicism arose, reached its height in the 1780s and ‘90s during the French Revolution and lasted until about the 1850s. Neoclassicism was impacted by the exploration and excavation of the buried Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii; the excavations of which began in 1738 and 1748, respectively.

It was because of these “new” discoveries that people wanted to revive the past and took interest in the classical forms and ideas that started the neoclassical era. It was the combination of new and “classical” that made artist want to convey a serious moral such as justice, honor, and patriotism. Ideally, this style portrays an array of knowledge so vast that it leads to enlightenment. The Neoclassical style sees nature is defined as human nature and that society is more important than the individual.

In summary, Neoclassicism focused on Greek and Roman history and was inspired by Classical Rome, patriotism, courage, and honor. The best-known painter of the time was J. L. David who painted “Napoleon Crossing the Saint Bernard,” just one of many amazing paintings in that time. The technique used in this era is a stressed drawing with lines, not color; no brush strokes. The tone set is calm and rational but at the same time play the role to provide inspiration and be morally uplifting. Neoclassical artist value order and solemnity and it can be seen throughout their paintings.

Inspired by the classics, touched by a revolution, and enforced order we have the “new” classics. Neoclassicism. Now lets get into the hippie era of the 18th century…of free love, peace, and saving the trees. No not really. Romanticism was much more than that it depicted a much deeper heightened since of feeling and euphoria. If it made you feel good and happy you would focus on that and that’s all that mattered. But that is still not all; romanticism was a time for passion, any kind of passion whether it was good or bad.

Inspired by the medieval, baroque eras, and the middle and Far East regions of the world. Romanticism started in the late 18th century and continued into the mid 19th century. The characteristics that follow the romantic era is one of a deepened appreciation of the beauty for nature; and exaltation of emotion over reason and intellect; a heightened sense of human personality, moods, and mental potentialities. The romantics were very occupied with the exceptional figures, such as the hero or genius and focused on their inner passions and struggles.

A couple of the best known artist of the time were Eugene Delacroix and Theodore Gericault, the artists were viewed as a supreme individual creators, their creative spirit was more important than strict rules or traditional procedures; the emphasis on imagination was a gateway to experience spiritual truth. With national and ethnic origins there was an obsessive interest in folk culture and the medieval era, which triggered a special liking for the exotic, mysterious, weird, the remote, the monstrous, diseased, and the satanic.

The role of the art was dramatic it was to carry the viewer away with its unrestrained, rich color, and visible brush strokes. Neoclassicism and Romanticism are in fact to very different eras. While to neoclassical era wanted to re-invent the classics, the romantic era wanted to expressive in every form not holding back restraint on the mere idea of being bound by the old classic rules. But this doesn’t stop them from having similarities either. They both were on a spiritual mission; the art itself wants to portray knowledge and enlightenment for neoclassicism and romanticism wants you to experience spiritual truth.

Although these eras are on very opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the arts they both wanted to find a new spirit of the time, to change it for the better. Like J. L David’s painting “Napoleon Crossing the Saint Bernard” is very lifelike and perfect not being able to see the brush strokes but making the feeling of nobility, strength, and honor very present in his work. This particular piece is a perfect example of the time being right after the revolution.

Eugene Delacroix’s painting “Liberty leading the people” This is such and amazing piece of art as well and although you can see more brush strokes it is also such a great example of the time. Delacroix is able to put so much detail and really paint the emotion of freedom and leadership. Both these painting depict a transformation, a want for change. The interesting thing is in those brush strokes, neoclassicism believed they needed to have that perfectionism it showed order, restraint, and rationalism; whereas, romanticism felt that the brush strokes needed to be seen so as to show emotion, passion, and life.

Both of these eras were very influenced by different eras like with neoclassical they wanted so desperately to get out of the Rococo style; is was the Age of Enlightenment; and it was right after the revolution. Neoclassical was very impressed and inspired by the classical era and made something old, new again. Romanticism was influenced by neoclassicism it was inspired as a revolt against social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and was partly a reaction from the industrial revolution.

Although, these eras seemed to influence each other in ways a teenager would want to try to change the rules at home. These eras very much influence our history, knowledge, learning, and inspiration today. Works Cited http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/508675/Romanticism http://www. buzzle. com/articles/romanticism-characteristics-of-romanticism. html http://www. buzzle. com/articles/difference-between-romanticism-and-neoclassicism. html http://lilt. ilstu. edu/jhreid/neoclassicism. htm http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Romanticism