Around 1800, philosophers, writers, and artists revolted against rationalism and began to propagate a new vision they described as “romantic”—one that believed in the goodness of humanity, the divine spirit of nature, and that saw the artist as a profoundly individual creator. This comprehensive introduction gathers an essay situating the genre across different regions, crisp reproductions, and detailed interpretations of 31 crucial pieces.
In a revolt against rationalism, Romanticism sought to return to nature and the belief in the goodness of humanity, with the artist considered to be a profoundly individual creator. Beginning in the early 19th century, Romantic ideals developed largely in opposition to the traditions of Greco-Roman antiquity, and advocated an open-ended and progressive—that is, modern—view of the age. Yet Romantic artists, searching perhaps for unattainable ideals, also looked back to the late medieval and Renaissance periods for nostalgic themes of Judeo-Christian heritage; drawing from these, they believed that a politically and intellectually enlightened utopia could be achieved. Romantic styles and subjects varied widely throughout Europe and America, ranging from tranquil contemplative scenes to spectacularly staged events, and it is precisely this diversity that lends Romantic art its fascination and lasting influence. This volume gathers an essay situating the genre across different regions, crisp painting reproductions, and detailed interpretations of 31 crucial pieces to offer a comprehensive introduction to Romanticism.
Each book in TASCHEN’s Basic Genre series features: approximately 100 color illustrations with explanatory captions a detailed, illustrated introduction a selection of the most important works of the epoch, each presented on a two-page spread with a full-page image and accompanying interpretation, as well as a portrait and brief biography of the artist
Norbert Wolf graduated in art history, linguistics, and medieval studies at the Universities of Regensburg and Munich, and earned his PhD in 1983. He held visiting professorships in Marburg, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Nuremberg-Erlangen, and Innsbruck. His extensive writings on art history include many TASCHEN titles, such as Diego Velázquez, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Caspar David Friedrich, Expressionism, Romanesque, Landscape Painting, and Symbolism.