TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 

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  Art Timeline  
 
 
  1 c. 15000 - 5000 BC Prehistoric Art
  2 5000 BC - 5ОО BC The Art of the Ancient Kingdoms of Egypt - Aegean Art
  3-4 5ОО вс - 12th century The Art of the Greeks
  5-6 5ОО вс - 12th century Italic Art
  7-8-9 12th century (1100-1199) The Early Christians  Art - Byzantine Art
  10-11 13th century (1200-1299) Gothic Art
  12 14th century (1300-1399) Gothic Art - International Style
  13 15th century (1400-1499) The Early Renaissance
  14 16th century (1500-1599) The High Renaissance
  15-16 16th century (1500-1599) Mannerism
  17-18-19-20 17th century (1600-1699) Baroque
  21-22 18th century (1700-1799) Rococo
  23-24-25-26-27-28-29 19th century(1800–1899) Neoclassical - Romanticism
    19th century (1863-1899) Impressionism Timeline
    19th century (1860-1899) Simbolism
    20th century(1900-1999) ART OF THE 20TH CENTURY
 
 
 
 
CONTENTS
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19th century (1800-1899)
 
 
 
     
  Neoclassicism and Romanticism
Realism, Impressionism and
Post-Impressionism
Symbolism
     
 
 
 
Romanticism
 
 
Romanticism was not so much a style or manner as a multifaceted movement that represented changing ideas and a new artistic sensibility. Various themes characterized this sensibility, from patriotism and nostalgia to the probing of the depths of the soul.
Individualism and the cult of the self combined to create a mood that found its expression in a number of different artistic outlets.
 
 
Higurative art played a vital role in the European movement known as Romanticism, which began in music, literature, and the theatre, and only later embraced painting and sculpture. It emerged in the late 18th century and continued to evolve throughout the 19th century. The term encompassed various concepts, such as man versus nature, the complexity of the psyche, religion, politics, and history. Unlike the preceding artistic movement, Neoclassicism, which was expressed through an easily recognized style and precise forms, Romanticism had less clearly defined outlines. It was an indication of mood as well as taste, a collective expression of the prevailing European spirit - often accompanied by a degree of extreme emotion.
 
 
 
A Romantic Neoclassicism?
 

As Neoclassicism turned to antiquity for its ideal models, so Romanticism yearned for an alternative to everyday reality, aspiring to the truth of the soul and the freedom of irrational impulses. The similarities between these two stylistic trends became more obvious during the decades leading into the 19th century, at which point they more or less coincided - for example, in the work of Ingres. Neoclassicism and Romanticism are two sides of the same coin - both movements reacted to the extravagance of the Rococo style by returning to human values, but whereas Neoclassicism was driven purely by reason, Romanticism was motivated and led by emotion. Antonio Canova's statue in marble of Cupid and Psyche (1787-93), although quintessentially Neoclassical in style and structure, marked the boundary between Neoclassicism and Romanticism. This work unconsciously reflects the Romantic concept of humankind's perpetual longing for the unattainable, in that the embrace of the two figures demonstrates the beauty of an unfulfilled union. The longing for a distant and seemingly more appealing age (albeit that of the ancient world) is a fundamentally Romantic notion. Thus, a powerful and emotional undercurrent finds its way into the paintings of David, particularly in his depictions of individual pathos, more usually in female subjects. These are typically bestowed with an aura of dignify and nobility, or a collective sense of despair and passion. In contrast to the serene classicism advocated by Winckelmann, there are blood-curdling scenes, such as Lica being hurled away with brute force by Hercules in Canova's sculpture (1795-1802); similar subjects are also present in the work of Flaxman.

Anti-naturalism and the more explicit themes of the early Romantic movement emerged against the historicalbackground of the restoration of the monarchy in France. One artist who stands out during this period is Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson (1767-1824). Of his best-known works, Endymion Sleeping (1793), has a dreamlike quality: Shadows of French Heroes who Died for their Countiy Gathered in Heaven by Ossian (1800-02) is a veritable phantasmagoria; Mile Lange as Danae (1799) shocked its audience with its forthright eroticism; while both La Pieta(1787) and The Funeral of Atala (1808) displayed unconventional religious feeling. The language of natural forces, both within and around humankind, had by now established itself, and would go on to find its most exuberant expression in the Romanticism of Henry Fuseli, William Blake, Caspar David Friedrich, Theodore Gericault,Ingres, and Goya. If it is true that "from the sleep of reason monsters are begotten" (Goya), it is also true that a rationalist Utopia has, at its innermost core, a mysterious and superhuman background inhabited by obscure feelings, arcane voices, and echoes from a fantastical world. Typical examples of these elements are the angelic figures portrayed by the German artist Philipp Otto Runge (1777-1810), the rampant exoticism presented in the work ofDelacroix, and the troubled skies painted by Constable and Turner.

 
 
 
INGRES: STRADDLING TWO STYLES

The works of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) represent the apotheosis of the Neoclassical style, while equally hinting at future developments in art. His canvases - particularly his early works - portray all the elements of formal splendour, sober elegance, and an adherence to models of the past (above all the works of Raphael, who he studied in Italy). In his later paintings, a subtle sensibility, a widespread sensuous-ness, and an extraordinary psychological insight were expressed, forming a transitional link between 18th-century art and the French painting of the Second Empire. In his teacher David's work, it was the moral and political subject matter that achieved supremacy, while in that of his own it was the purity of form, developed through the sometimes artificial exquisiteness of proportions. These were calculated to emphasize the eroticism and delicate sensuality of his nudes and to give the illusion of a perfect balance. However, Ingres was harshly criticized for this by David: "weak feet, hands...arms and legs a third too short or too long." In an official work such as Napoleon I Crowned (1806), the emphasis of the curves and diagonals were in total opposition to Neoclassical composition. For the poet Charles Baudelaire, the work evoked "an impression that is hard to explain, and which, in itself, sums up in indefinable proportions uneasiness, annoyance, anxiety." Ingres' bathers - one of his favourite themes - odalisques, and Oriental women represented an exercise in "academic perfection", marking the birth of a style characterized by a languid, soft, expressive eroticism that was very different from that of artists such as Boucher and Fragonard. His later portraits of European nobility best illustrate the great psychological depth of his work.

 
 

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Napoleon I Crowned
1806
 
 

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Roger Freeing Angelica
1819
Musee du Louvre, Paris

The Renaissance tales of Ariosto were transposed by Ingres into a romantic setting, 
in which he could demonstrate his mastery of the nude.
 
 

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Roger Freeing Angelica
(detail)
 
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Angelica
 
 

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres
Madame Moitessier
1856
National Gallery, London

The precision and richness of detail in the costume enhance the sensual beauty 
of the flesh and the graceful curves of the body.
 
 

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
The Dream of Ossian
1813
Musee Ingres, Montauban, France

James Macpherson published his bogus odes by Ossian in 1762-63, 
a work full of themes that would be picked up by the Romantics. 
Half a century later, Ingres used them as his inspiration for this painting.
 
 

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Luigi Cherubini and the Muse of Lyric Poetry
1842
Musee du Louvre, Paris

A difficult and controversial painting, this portrait of the most famous Parisian 
composer of the day combines classical iconography with a perceptive 
portrayal of the subject wearing the dress of the modern intellectual.
 
 
Ingres

Born at Montauban, France, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres first studied in Toulouse, before enrolling at David's studio in Paris in 1797. He became the most admired and influential of the French painters, his studio frequented by countless leading figures of society. He was Director of the French Academy in Rome and Professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, just two of many official appointments and honours.

 
 

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Self-Portrait at age 24
 
 
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

born Aug. 29, 1780, Montauban, France 
died Jan. 14, 1867, Paris 

painter and icon of cultural conservatism in 19th-century France. Ingres became the leader of the French tradition of Neoclassical painting after the death of Jacques-Louis David. He was also one of the finest portraitists of his century. Ingres's cool, meticulously drawn works were the antithesis of the contemporary Romantic school. His historical paintings display his lifelong obsession with line and contour, while his female nudes reveal a sensuality unique to Neoclassicism.

 

Early life and works

Ingres received his first artistic instruction from his father, Jean-Marie-Joseph Ingres (1755–1814), an artistic jack-of-all-trades of modest talent but considerable professional and social pretensions. Ingres's formal education at the school of the Brothers of Christian Doctrine was cut short by the abolition of religious orders in France in 1791, during the Revolution. So he was sent to study at the fine arts academy in Toulouse instead. Six years later, in 1797, he set out for Paris, where he entered the studio of the most celebrated artist in France, the Neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David. Two years later Ingres was accepted into the École des Beaux-Arts (“School of Fine Arts”). The culmination of his artistic education occurred in 1801, when he was awarded the coveted Prix de Rome. Ingres's prizewinning painting, “The Envoys of Agamemnon,” demonstrates his mastery of the standard academic pictorial vocabulary as well as his attraction to modish stylistic archaisms.

Because the French treasury, strained by Napoleon's wars, was unable to pay for his scholarship in Rome, Ingres was forced to remain in Paris, where he began to distinguish himself as a portraitist. In 1804 he fulfilled his first official commission in this genre, “Bonaparte as First Consul” (Museum of Fine Arts, Liège). In 1806 he attracted public attention with a display of five portraits at the official exhibition of contemporary art known as the Salon. Four of these paintings were standard exercises in Davidian Neoclassicism—a trio of portraits of members of the Rivière family (now in the Louvre Museum, Paris) and a rather swaggering “Self-Portrait” (Condé Museum, Chantilly). Much more original was a portrait of “Napoleon on his Imperial Throne” (1804; Museum of the Army, Paris), an intimidating effigy of absolutism incarnate that is executed in a willfully stiff and archaic style reminiscent of 15th-century Flemish masters. The critics were unanimous in their condemnation of this work and branded Ingres's self-consciously primitivizing manner as “Gothic.” It would take the artist two decades to shake this pejorative label.

In 1806 Ingres finally set off for Italy, where he did little to counter his burgeoning reputation as an enfant terrible. The academicians were disconcerted by the linear severity and the restrained colours of the two paintings he sent back to Paris in 1808: the famous “Valpinçon Bather” (Louvre Museum, Paris) and “Oedipus and the Sphinx” (Louvre). The culminating production of Ingres's student years in Rome, the large mythological painting “Jupiter and Thetis” (1811; Granet Museum, Aix-en-Provence), proved no less provocative. In the fantastically fluid, seemingly boneless body of the sea nymph Thetis, Ingres prominently displayed what would become one of the most distinguishing features of his mature art: an audacious reconfiguration of the female anatomy.

Mature life and works.

When Ingres's tenure as a student at the French Academy inRome expired in 1810, he opted to remain in Italy, where he had begun to establish himself as a portraitist of Napoleonic officials and dignitaries. He also received occasional commissions in the more prestigious genre of history painting. In 1811 he was invited to participate in the redecoration of the Quirinal Palace, which was in the process of being transformed into Napoleon's official residence in Rome. Ingres's contribution consisted of two monumental canvases: “Romulus, Conqueror of Acron” (1812) and “The Dream of Ossian” (1813).

This period of relative prosperity ended abruptly in 1815 with the fall of the Napoleonic empire and the evacuation of Rome by the French. Desperate for work, Ingres resorted to executing small-scale portrait drawings of English and other tourists. An almost uncanny control of delicate yet firm line, and an unending inventiveness in posing his sitters in a manner to reveal personality through shrewdly observed characteristic gestures, combined with a capacity to record an exact likeness, make this category of Ingres's drawings unique. Though these pencil portrait drawings are among Ingres's most widely admired works, he himself scorned them as mere potboilers. Despite his supreme gifts as a portraitist, Ingres throughout his life professed to disdain portraiture and strove instead to establish his credentials as a creator of grand historical paintings.

But commissions for monumental works were hard to come by, so Ingres contented himself with subject painting on a more restrained scale. It was during this period that he emerged as a master of medieval and Renaissance subjects executed in a purposefully primitivizing style recalling the artistic mannerisms of the age of the scenes being depicted. These canvases did little to shield him from the attacks of the critics, however, who continued to portray him as a kind of savage primitive intent on taking art back to its infancy. A hostile response likewise greeted what would become one of the artist's most celebrated canvases, the “Grande Odalisque” (1814; Louvre). Exhibited in the 1819 Salon, this painting elicited outrage from critics, who ridiculed its lack of conventional modeling as well as Ingres's habitual anatomical distortions of the female nude.

It was as a religious painter that Ingres, who moved from Rome to Florence in 1820, finally began to turn the critical tide in his favour. The artist adopted a more conventional classicizing style—one based directly on the example of his hero Raphael—for “The Vow of Louis XIII” (1824; Notre-DameCathedral, Montauban), a blatant piece of pro-Bourbon propaganda celebrating the union of church and state. This picture was a spectacular success at the 1824 Salon, earning the artist his first critical accolades as well as election to the Academy of Fine Arts. Thus, in the span of a single exhibition, Ingres went from being one of the most vilified artists in France to one of the most celebrated.

Heartened by the success of “The Vow of Louis XIII,” Ingres, who had accompanied the picture to Paris, resolved to remain in France. In 1825 he opened a teaching studio, which quickly became one of the largest and most important in Paris. Two years later, at the Salon of 1827, Ingres followed up the success of the “Vow” with his most ambitious history painting, “The Apotheosis of Homer” (Louvre). The “Apotheosis” is a vast historical group portrait that summarizes the development of classical culture in the West. This work is not only a resounding manifesto of Neoclassicism but also a memorial to the narrow-minded, prejudicial brand of cultural conservatism with which Ingres would be linked for the rest of his career.

Despite having achieved his first real success under the stewardship of the Bourbon kings of France, Ingres rallied to the more liberal Orléanist regime that arose out of the Revolution of 1830. In 1832 he produced the “Portrait of Monsieur Bertin” (Louvre), a pictorial paean to the utter tenacity of the newly empowered middle class. Ingres's masterful characterization of his pugnacious sitter, along with the portrait's mesmerizing realism, won the artist great popular success at the 1833 Salon.

In 1829 Ingres had been named professor at the École des Beaux-Arts, and in 1834 and 1850 he served as president of that institution. But already by 1833 he stood accused of artistic imperialism—of attempting to impose his personal style on the entire French school of painting. Such charges dominated the critical discourse in 1834, when the artist exhibited the “Martyrdom of Saint-Symphorien” (St. Lazare Cathedral, Autun). Rumoured beforehand to be his definitive masterpiece, this monumental religious canvas was violently attacked by critics on the political and cultural left and was defended no less vehemently by Ingres's allies on the right. Deeply wounded by the lack of universal approbation, the notoriously hypersensitive Ingres announced his intention never again to exhibit at the Salon. He also solicited and received the post of director of the French Academy in Rome, and set off for Italy in 1834.

Ingres's tenure as director of the French Academy in Rome was dominated by administrative and teaching duties. During his six-year stint in Rome, he completed only three major canvases: the so-called “Virgin with the Host” (1841), the “Odalisque with Slave” (1840; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass.), and “Antiochus and Stratonice” (1840). The exhibition of the latter painting turned the critical tide in Ingres's favour once more. Primed by this success, Ingres in 1841 made a triumphal return to Paris, where he dined with the king and was publicly feted at a banquet attended by more than 400 political and cultural dignitaries.

Late life and works

Ingres had finally secured his status as the greatest living artist in France. The darling of the Orléanist elite, he continued to showcase his works in a series of exclusive, semipublic exhibitions and also received several prestigious decorative commissions, none of which, however, he ever fulfilled. Terrified by the spectre of social and political chaos during the Revolution of 1848, Ingres welcomed the declaration of the Second Empire under Napoleon III in 1852.

It is ironic that, given his pretensions as a history painter, Ingres's major accomplishment during his later years continued to be in the genre of portraiture. By the mid-1850s he was the most sought-after society portraitist in Paris. Ingres was particularly adept at capturing the grace and splendour—as well as the ostentation and vulgarity—of the feminine elite. Among his most beautiful portraits in this genre are the “Comtesse d'Haussonville” (1845; Frick Collection, New York), the “Baronne de Rothschild” (1848), the “Princesse de Broglie” (1853; Metropolitan Museum, New York), and two portraits of the renowned beauty Mme. Inès Moitessier that he painted in 1851 and 1856 (now in the National Gallery, Washington, D.C., and the National Gallery, London, respectively).

After having boycotted the Salon for more than two decades, Ingres was coaxed into entering an official public exhibitiononce again on the occasion of the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1855. The critical reaction to the 69 works he displayed there was predictably mixed: conservative reviewers hailed him as a kind of artistic messiah, while more progressive critics denounced his hackneyed style as utterly irrelevant to the modern age. The government mollified the wounded artist by elevating him to the rank of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour; he was the first literary or artistic figure to achieve this lofty honour. In 1862 Ingres became one of the first professional painters to be appointed to the Senate.

The most notable works Ingres painted late in his career are female nudes. In 1856 he completed “The Source” (Orsay Museum, Paris), a disturbingly vacuous representation of an adolescent girl that became one of his most celebrated canvases during his lifetime. But his culminating achievement in the genre of the female nude was the much more complex, multi figure “Turkish Bath” (1862; Louvre).

Ingres died in 1867. He bequeathed to Montauban, his native city, the contents of his studio. In addition to about 4,000 drawings (the studies, sketches, and working drawings of a lifetime), the bequest included several of his own paintings, the paintings in his private collection, and his reference library. All of this is now housed in the Ingres Museum at Montauban.

 

Assessment

For most of the first half of the 19th century, Ingres was a champion of line and of firm contour, of subtly graded, clear colour, and of carefully balanced composition. He viewed with contempt the dramatic chiaroscuro, the turbulent movement, and the tense emotional context of his chief rival, the Romantic painter Eugene Delacroix. Ingres's death marked the symbolic end of the tradition of monumental history painting in French art. By this time contemporary life, rather than the exploits of the ancient Greeks and Romans, had already begun emerging as the dominant subject matter of modern painting. The finality of Ingres's passing was rendered all the more evident by his lack of talented pupils; despite having been surrounded by a group of fanatical devotees, the artist left no one behind to carry the torch. Time has dimmed the acrimony of the quarrels of Ingres's epoch and made clearer the quality of his genuine, if rather self-contradictory, genius. His position as one of the truly great painters of the 19th century is now secure, and his considerable influence upon Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, and other modernists is now generally acknowledged.

Andrew Carrington Shelton 

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres
Oedipus and the Sphinx
 
 
 
Ingres increased the original measurements of this picture before exhibiting it at the Paris Salon, probably in 1825. The subject is the meeting between Oedipus and the sphinx in a desolate place at the gates of Thebes. The painting shows a rocky cave in which the nude figure of the prince confronts the mythical monster. Over his right shoulder, the hero wears a red mantle, which falls against his left thigh. His left foot is placed on a large rock, and two spears lean against his right shoulder, their points resting on the rock. To the left, the sphinx sits in the shadows on a pile of rocks. wrhile below, in the foreground, a foot and some bones are depicted. These are remains of the sphinx's victims -wayfarers she has eaten for failing to find an answer to her riddles. On the lower right of the composition, an animated male figure gestures in the distance.

The figure of Oedipus dominates the composition - it was even more prominent in the original smaller picture, the dimensions of which are outlined in white. The figure occupies a large part of the space and is the focus of lighting. In the larger painting, the dark space around the luminous body has increased, and the artist has arranged four points of light to provide counterpoint to the shape of the nude figure. These are: top left, the breast of the sphinx; top right, the Leonardo-style eye of light among the rocks; below right, the suffused gleam on the line of the horizon; and below left, the foot of a victim. The polygon obtained by joining the points of light contains the human elements of the scene. The composition can be seen to be based on two opposing curves, as indicated by the red lines. The principal figures are contained in a sort of almond shape that inclines towards the top left-hand corner.

Taking inspiration from the classical world and Neo-Platonic thought, Ingres has structured the hit man figure using geometric forms of precise symbolic significance. The picture contains a square, a triangle, and a circle. The square represents terrestrial solidity, stability, and balance and is placed in the space created between the bent and straight legs of Oedipus. The triangle, also a stable form, but dynamic and linked to the world of the emotions, is positioned between the arm and the torso, seats of the heart and the liter. The circle, enclosing the head, is the shape of harmony, without beginning or end.

The light that illuminates Oedipus and the rocks in the foreground comes from an undefined source but falls upon the stone and the golden skin of the figure. The nude figure stands out against the dark background, its outline drawn with sharp precision. This is very evident in the right leg. where the full light on the calf fades by fine gradations into the shadow of the foot and upper thigh. In the luminous masses on the left-hand side of the painting, the draughtsmanship is also very strong. The breast of the sphinx, defined by the light and the chiaroscuro, has a sumptuous maternal nudity that alludes to the later tragedy that was to befall Oedipus. (After he had solved the sphinx's riddle, the monster killed herself. Oedipus's fate was to marry his own mother who. when she discovered the truth, hanged herself.)

 
 

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres
Oedipus and the Sphinx
 (detail)
 
 
The stable posture of Oedipus contrasts with the motion of the small figure on the right: the red and orange-red mantles unite the two figures, warming their flesh tones. In both cases, the material is creased or fluttering in the breeze in contrast with the smooth and solid mass of the naked flesh. This detail shows Oedipus meeting the eye of the sphinx, with his forefinger curved towards her breast. The clarity of the scene leaves no room for mystery or ambiguity.
 
 

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres
Oedipus and the Sphinx
 (detail)
 
 
The sole of a human foot is illuminated against the darkness in the bottom left of the painting, while a pile of bones and a skull are outlined against the rocks in the foreground. Tide superb contours and lucidity of form outline a tragic still life. With the sphinx positioned above, space for the dead is contained in the left-hand side of the composition. Space for the living, in the form of the gesturing figure in the distance, is on the right. Oedipus is positioned firmly in the centre, his fate undecided.
 
 
 
Continuity and Renewal

During the Neoclassical phase, which partly overlapped with early Romanticism, there were hints of the styles and ideas that would follow. Neoclassical artists had already sought to distance themselves from the gaudiness and fussy over-decoration of the preceding Rococo style. They tackled moral problems, the clash of ideals, and the concept of a harmony that is both external and spiritual (as expounded by the art historian Johann Winckelmann, who was one of the key theorists of Neoclassicism). However, the Romantics went further than the Neoclassical artists would ever have contemplated, even though both were searching for the same truths about the human soul. They attempted to explore a deeper, darker level of the human spirit, moving definitively away from the shallowness of the Rococo movement. At the same time, the Romantics recovered some of the more troubled and dramatic themes examined during the Baroque period. During the 19th century there was a distinct change in attitude towards the aesthetic and ethical model of the ancient Greeks, which, since the Renaissance had by and large provided the basis for artistic endeavour. For Goethe, this change in attitude became a seminal period of insight in the development of man and his acquisition of spiritual maturity. Later, the writings of Nietzsche would address the disturbing, irrational aspects that lay hidden beneath the polished, sophisticated image of Greek civilization. The notion of antiquity as the essence of natural harmony was challenged by Edmund Burke in his Inquiry into the Origin of our Idea on the Sublime and Beautiful (1756), which argued against the finite concept of beauty and the classical conception of nature as harmony. Antiquity was interpreted in an non-classical way by the Danish artist Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard (1743-1809) and, later, by the Swiss-born artist Henry Fuseli (1741-1825), as well as by other visionary painters. The occult, the significance of dreams, notions of infinity, a yearning for distant and exotic lands, anxiety, and the predominance of emotions were among the wide variety of themes that concerned the Romantics.

 
 
 
Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard

(b Copenhagen, 11 Sept 1743; d Frederiksdal, Copenhagen, 4 June 1809). 

Danish painter, designer and architect. His paintings reveal both Neo-classical and Romantic interests and include history paintings as well as literary and mythological works. The variety of his subject-matter reflects his wide learning, a feature further evidenced by the broad range of his creative output. In addition to painting, he produced decorative work, sculpture and furniture designs, as well as being engaged as an architect. Successfully combining both intellectual and imaginative powers, he came to be fully appreciated only in the 1980s.

 
 

Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard
Filozofia
 
 

Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard
Frederik II Odbudowuje Kronborg
1782
 
 

Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard
Nightmare
1800
 
 

Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard
Osjan
1782
 
 

Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard
Philoctetes
1775
 
 

Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard
Richard III for slaget ved Bosworth
1780
 
 

Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard
Scenes from 'Niels Klim's Subterranean Journey' by Baron Ludvig Holberg 
 
 

Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard
The Spirit of Culmin Appears to his Mother, from the Songs of Ossian
 
 
 
Before Romanticism

Jean-Antoine Gros (1771-1835) was one of the keenest disciples of French artist Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825). As official war painter of the Napoleonic era and portraitist of illustrious figures of the empire, Gros was commissioned to paint the emperor on a visit to the camp at the Battle of Eylau (1808). He portrayed the dead in stark reality - lying in the snow, their twisted bodies and frozen expressions showing graphically the horrors of this battle between the French and Russian armies in which about 25,000 men perished. The tragedy of the work wastempered by the figure of the emperor, mounted heroically on a white horse. The canvas is said to have so pleased Napoleon that he made Gros a baron of the empire. Gros' approach was more candid than was traditional for "official" artists and it anticipated the darker style of the Romantics, in which mankind could be shown in its struggle against nature, the victim of forces beyond its control. The American painter John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) reconstructed a real-life event in a commissioned work: Watson and the Shark. The shark is a very real physical creature, yet at the same time it symbolizes the mighty force of nature with which man can be in conflict or which can even take his life. The men in the boat struggle to save the figure of Watson in the water while also fending off the animal. Theodore Gericault also chose to paint a real event. In his Raft of the Medusa, he portrays the makeshift raft on which the surviving passengers and crew were abandoned. The terrible scene Gericault forces us to contemplate shows death and suffering without any nobility or dignity. The victims have a long and drawn out fate ahead of them. There is no strong colour, only a sickly light and the murky, violent sea. Exhibited grudgingly by the artistic establishment at the Paris Salon in 1819. this radical work provoked great controversy, its grim subject matter challenging traditional artistic rules. The Raft of the Medusa became extremely important as a symbol of Romanticism in art, and Gericault's work would prove to be inspirational for artists such as Delacroix.

 
 
 
Jean-Antoine Gros

born March 16, 1771, Paris, France 
died June 26, 1835, Paris 

French Romantic painter principally remembered for his historical pictures depicting significant events in the military career of Napoleon.

Gros received his first art training from his father, who was a painter of miniatures. In 1785 he entered the studio of his father's friend Jacques-Louis David, whom he revered but whose cerebral Neoclassical style was uncongenial to Gros's romantically passionate nature. As a student he was more influenced by the energetic brushwork and colour of Peter Paul Rubens and the Venetians than the hard linearism of his contemporary Neoclassicists.

In 1793, with David's help, Gros went to Italy, where, in Genoa, he met Joséphine de Beauharnais and, through her, his hero, Napoleon. In 1796 he followed the French army to Arcole and was present when Napoleon planted the French flag on the bridge. This incident he immortalized in his first major work, Napoleon on the Bridge at Arcole (1796). Napoleon bestowed on him the rank of inspecteur aux revues. He accompanied Napoleon on his campaigns and also helped select works of art from Italy for the Louvre.

Of all the artists who contributed to the Napoleonic myth, Gros had the most profound effect on the rising generation of Romantic painters. The elegance, richness, and dramatic power of such historical paintings as Napoleon Visiting the Pesthouse at Jaffa (1804) and Napoleon at Eylau (1808) influenced Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix.

After the fall of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbons (who gave Gros the title of baron), David was forced into exile and Gros became the head of his studio. As the heir of Neoclassicism, Gros tried to work in a style closer to that of David. He continued to paint large compositions—e.g., the ceiling of the Egyptian room of the Louvre (c. 1824)—but these academically Neoclassical pictures lacked the Romantic vitality of his earlier historical paintings. His best works after 1815 were portraits, some of which approached the quality of his Napoleonic pictures—e.g., Young Girl in a Necklace (exhibited 1913). He was, however, continually plagued by David's criticism of his work and became increasingly dissatisfied with his own accomplishments. A sense of failure exacerbated his already melancholic nature, and he committed suicide.

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Jean-Antoine Gros
Bonaparte on the Bridge at Arcole
1796
 
 

Jean-Antoine Gros
Napoleon Bonaparte on the Battlefield of Eylau, 1807

1808
Oil on canvas, 521 x 784 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
 
 
 
John Singleton Copley

born July 3, 1738, Boston, Massachusetts [U.S.] 
died September 9, 1815, London, England 

American painter of portraits and historical subjects, generally acclaimed as the finest artist of colonial America.

Little is known of Copley's boyhood. He gained familiarity with graphic art from his stepfather, the limner and engraver Peter Pelham, and developed an early sense of vocation: before he was 20 he was already an accomplished draughtsman. Copley soon discovered that his skills were most pronounced in the genre of portraiture. In his portraits, he revealed an intimate knowledge of his New England subjects and milieu and conveyed a powerful sense of physical entity and directness. Influenced by a Rococo portrait style derived from Joseph Blackburn, Copley made eloquent use of the portrait d'apparat—a Rococo device of portraying the subject with the objects associated with him in his daily life—that gave his work a liveliness and acuity not usually associated with 18th-century American painting. This device allowed Copley to insert English references in to his portraits, thereby reinforcing the Anglophilia desired by many of his patrons.

Although he was steadily employed with commissions from the Boston bourgeoisie, Copley wanted to test himself against the standards of Europe. In 1766, therefore, he exhibited Boy with a Squirrel at the Society of Artists in London. It was highly praised both by Sir Joshua Reynolds and by Copley's countryman Benjamin West. Copley married in 1769. Although he was urged by fellow artists who were familiar with his work to study in Europe, he did not venture out of Boston except for a seven-month stay in New York City (June 1771–January 1772). When political and economic conditions in Boston began to deteriorate (Copley's father-in-law was the merchant to whom the tea that provoked the Boston Tea Party was consigned), Copley left the country in June 1774, never to return. In 1775 his wife, children, and several other family members arrived in London, and Copley established a home there in 1776.

His ambitions in Europe went beyond portraiture; he was eager to make a success in the more highly regarded sphere of historical painting. In his first important work in this genre, Watson and the Shark (1778), Copley used what was to become one of the great themes of 19th-century Romantic art: the struggle of man against nature. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1779. His English paintings grew more academically sophisticated and self-conscious, but in general they lacked the extraordinary vitality and penetrating realism of his Boston portraits. Although his physical and mental health were in decline in his later years, he continued to paint with considerable success until the last few months of his life.

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John Singleton Copley
Brook Watson and the Shark

1778
Oil on canvas, 182 x 230 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington
 
 
 
THEODORE GERICAULT

Theodore Gericault (1791-1824) divided his admiration equally between the painter Rubens and the director of the Olympic Circus Franconi. Horses were his true passion: from his youth, he painted them in the royal stables near Versailles and during his time in Rome (1817). Following the controversy aroused by The Raft of the Medusa, shown in 1819, he went to London, On his return to Paris, he made several preparatory sketches for large paintings that were to express his ideals of liberty and democracy. These were never realized, as he died aged 33 after falling from a horse.

 
 

Theodore Gericault
The Raft of the Medusa
1819
Musée du Louvre, Paris
 
 
 
Theodore Gericault

born September 26, 1791, Rouen, France 
died January 26, 1824, Paris 

in full Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault painter who exerted a seminal influence on the development of Romantic art in France. Géricault was a dandy and an avid horseman whose dramatic paintings reflect his flamboyant and passionate personality.

As a student Géricault learned the traditions of English sporting art from the French painter Carle Vernet, and he developed a remarkable facility for capturing animal movement. He also mastered classicist figure construction and composition under the academician Pierre Guérin. Another student of Guérin, Eugène Delacroix, was profoundly influenced by Géricault, finding in his example a major point of departure for his own art.

As demonstrated by his earliest major work, The Charging Chasseur (1812), which depicts an officer astride a rearing horse on a smoky battlefield, Géricault was drawn to the colourist style of the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens and to the use of contemporary subject matter in the manner of an older colleague, the painter Antoine-Jean Gros. At the Salon of 1814, Géricault's Wounded Cuirassier shocked critics with its mournful subject and sombre colours. While in Florence and Rome (1816–17), he became fascinated with Michelangelo and Baroque art. His chief project at this time was Race of the Riderless Horse, a heroic frieze composition (never completed) depicting a dangerous race that was an annual event.

After returning to France, Géricault drew a group of lithographs on military subjects that are considered among the earliest masterworks in that medium. Géricault's masterpiece is the large painting entitled The Raft of the Medusa (c. 1819). This work depicts the aftermath of a contemporary French shipwreck, whose survivors embarked on a raft and were decimated by starvation before being rescued at sea. The shipwreck had scandalous political implications at home—the incompetent captain, who had gained the position because of connections to the Bourbon Restoration government, fought to save himself and senior officers while leaving the lower ranks to die—and so Géricault's picture of the raft and its inhabitants was greeted with hostility by the government. The work's macabre realism, its treatment of the raft incident as epic-heroic tragedy, and the virtuosity of its drawing and tonalities combine to give the painting great dignity and carry it far beyond mere contemporary reportage. The portrayal of the dead and dying, developed within a dramatic, carefully constructed composition, addressed a contemporary subject with remarkable and unprecedented passion.

Disappointed by the reception of The Raft of the Medusa, Géricault took the painting to England in 1820, where it was received as a sensational success. He remained there for two years, enjoying the equine culture and producing a body of lithographs, watercolours, and oils of jockeys and horses. Upon his return to France, his friendship with Étienne Georget, a pioneer in psychiatric studies, inspired his series of portraits of victims of insanity, each of whom was seen as a “type” of affliction, including Kleptomaniaand Delusion of Military Command. Repeated riding accidents and chronic tubercular infections ruined his health, and he died after a long period of suffering.

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THE SOLDIER: HERO OR ANTI-HERO?

Among the most memorable portraits of the soldier during the early 19th century were those of Napoleon, notably by Jacques-Louis David. His idealized Napoleon did not represent the individual so much as the archetype of heroism. A significantly less heroic portrayal of the soldier was Gericault's Wounded Cuirassier, painted at the time Napoleon suffered a defeat in the "Battle of the Nations" at Leipzig (16-19 October, 1813) and exhibited at the Salon in 181 4. the year of the emperor's abdication. The image of a terrified horse being restrained by a soldier, who looks back to where the battle rages, is tinged with sadness and disillusionment, suggesting that an epoch has drawn to a close. The painting, with its flat slabs of colour, renders its subject unappealing and marks an end to the portrayal of the soldier as a superman and hero.

 
 

Theodore Gericault
Wounded Cuirassier
1814
 
 
 
German Masters

In Germany, the writer and scholar Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) made a distinction between so-called "noble" nature - that which is viewed from a higher and pure level or perception -and "common" nature, as perceived by the observer. He argued that classical art did not repudiate nature but was in itself a higher and more faithful form of naturalism - "naturalistic idealism". In 1777 he designed the Altar of Good Fortune, a sphere symbolizing restless desire, standing on the cube of virtue, placed in the idealized landscape of his garden at Weimar. Heroic Landscape with Rainbow by Joseph Anton Koch (1768-1839), who lived in Rome from 1795, is a mythical vision described by the artist as "a great Greek landscape". In this work, behind the crystalline atmosphere and the sculpted precision with which the shepherds and sheep are drawn, the order set out by the artists of the Renaissance is lost. The viewer's eve does not focus on any one single point but wanders all over the painting, absorbing its wide range of emotions.

 
 
 
Joseph Anton Koch

(b Obergibeln, Tyrol, 27 July 1768; d Rome, 12 Jan 1839).

Painter and writer. He was one of the most important landscape painters of the early 19th century. With his friend Johann Christian Reinhart he pioneered the ‘heroic’ landscape style by heightening the grandeur and structural clarity of classical Italianate landscapes in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain and Gaspard Dughet. His work reflects a transitional period in European art. Largely under the influence of Asmus Carstens, Koch subscribed to many Neo-classical principles, but his work also has Romantic aspects. His interest in the natural sciences and Romantic philosophy betrayed an increasingly modern world-view, but he also embraced the medievalism of the Nazarenes. His landscape style influenced that of his friends Ferdinand Olivier and Friedrich Olivier, as well as that of Carl Philipp Fohr.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 

Joseph Anton Koch
Heroic Landscape with Rainbow

1805
 
 

Joseph Anton Koch
Heroic Landscape with Rainbow

1815
Oil on canvas, 188 x 171 cm
Neue Pinakothek, Munich
 
 

Joseph Anton Koch
Mountain Scene

1796
Oil on canvas, 110 x 161 cm
Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne
 
 

Joseph Anton Koch
The Upland near Bern

1816
Oil on canvas, 73 x 99 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden
 
 

Joseph Anton Koch
The Schmadribach Falls

1821-22
Oil on canvas, 132 x 110 cm
Neue Pinakothek, Munich
 
 

Joseph Anton Koch
The Monastery of St. Francis in Sabine Hills, Rome
oil on panel
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
 
 

Joseph Anton Koch
The Lauterbrunnen Valley
1821
oil on canvas
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen
 
 

Joseph Anton Koch
The Wetterhorn with the Reichenbachtal
1824
oil on canvas
Oskar Reinhart Foundation, Winterthur
 
 
 
ART AND MADNESS

For the Romantic painters, madness was no longer an abnormal or bizarre subject but a constituent part of humanity. Insanity and disease were portrayed by Franz Xavier Messerschmidt (1736-83), in his "character head" sculptures (1770-83), mostly modelled in lead. Francisco Goya painted himself with Dr Arrieta, as a tribute to the man who had nursed him through a long illness. He portrayed himself as a sort of Ecce Homo, with the suggestion of a crown of thorns. During the same period, the artist began his grim, visionary "Black Paintings", which show human cruelty, while expressing an understanding of the fear that could cause it. In France, Gericault produced a series of portraits of inmates at the Salpetriere asylum. With their fixed expressions, they are symbols of a disease that is an integral part of the human condition.

 
 
 
Franz Xaver Messerschmidt

(b Wiesensteig, nr Ulm, 6 Feb 1736; d Pressburg [now Bratislava, Slovak Republic], ?19 Aug 1783). 

Austrian sculptor. He was descended, on his mother’s side, from a family of joiners and sculptors called Straub. He was first trained by two of his mother’s brothers: from 1746 by Johann Baptist Straub, who was a court sculptor in Munich, then from c. 1752 until 1754 by Philipp Jakob Straub in Graz. Messerschmidt then went to Vienna, where he attended the Akademie from the end of 1755. His teachers there were probably Jakob Schletterer (1699–1774) and Balthasar Ferdinand Moll. Messerschmidt was the protégé of Martin van Meytens (1695–1770), the director of the Akademie and a court painter. Van Meytens subsequently helped Messerschmidt to procure his first appointment at the Imperial Arsenal, where he was assigned to decorating canons. Between 1760 and 1763, however, Messerschmidt produced his first known independent works, for the Arsenal state rooms: the gilt-bronze busts of the Empress Maria Theresa and her husband Franz I von Lothringen, and the bronze reliefs of their son, subsequently Emperor, Joseph II, and his first wife, Maria Isabella von Parma (all now Vienna, Belvedere, Österreich. Gal.).

 
 

Franz Xavier Messerschmidt
Character Head: The Gentle, Quiet Sleep

1770-1783
Tin cast, height: 44 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
 
Franz Xavier Messerschmidt
Character Head: The Arch-Evil

1770-83
Tin-lead alloy, height: 38,5 cm
Österreichische Galerie, Vienna
     
     

Franz Xavier Messerschmidt
Character Head: The Hanged

1770-83
Alabaster, height: 38 cm
Österreichische Galerie, Vienna
 
Franz Xavier Messerschmidt
Character Head: The Lecher

1770-83
Marbl, height: 45 cm
Österreichische Galerie, Vienna
     
     

Franz Xavier Messerschmidt
Character Head: The Beaked

1770
Alabaster, height 43 cm
Österreichische Galerie, Vienna
 
Franz Xavier Messerschmidt
Character Head: The Beaked

1770
Alabaster, height: 43 cm
Österreichische Galerie, Vienna
     
 
 
 
Friedrich and the Northern Europeans

In The Sea of Ice, by Caspar David Friedrich, man is absent, devoured by the awe-inspiring and adverse elements: there are no traces of the shipwrecked crew in the icy landscape. Glimpses of small sections of the boat are visible between the slabs of ice, which form a silent pyramid rising up to the sky. It is thought that the sea of ice symbolized the "frozen" political climate and the despondent mood surrounding the struggles for German independence from Napoleon's forces. For Friedrich, nature was like a living, organic creature, untameable and unpredictable. The artist's uncommissioned painting The Cross in the Mountains (1808) caused a sensation when it was first exhibited as an altarpiece in the castle at Tetschen: the crucified Christ was almost lost in his surroundings, which became the symbol of a cosmic, existentialist grief. During the Neoclassical period, such emotion would have been attained through noble and detailed expression, exemplified by the tomb of Maria Cristina of Austria by the sculptor Antonio Canova. ForFriedrich, ancient ruins became the symbol of a world of solitude, where mankind's vain and futile enterprises are lost in a bleak, intensely cold and ghostly landscape. The artist's Abbey in the Oakwood shows the remains of human endeavour laid open to the forces of the cosmos. This painting may be interpreted as a parable of the divine, suggesting a promise of eternity. The painter often looked to his religious faith for answers to metaphysical questions. It portrays an uncertain, mysterious universe, the workings of which can be glimpsed, but are never fully revealed and can never be controlled. The grand Romantic work of Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1857) was stylistically-close to that of both Friedrich and the Norwegian landscape painter Gustav Carus (1789-1869). Carus was also a writer, geologist, physiologist, and naturalist. Both men were friends of Friedrich. The portrayals of the Norwegian landscape by these artists pioneered a new spirit of Norwegian nationalism, and work was produced with a definite Nordicidentity. The artists aims were similar to those of the Sturm und Drang writers, a proto-Romantic movement that sought to free German arts from French influence.

 
 
 
Carl Gustav Carus

(b Leipzig, 3 Jan 1789; d Dresden, 28 July 1869). 

German painter and draughtsman. As well as being an artist, he achieved considerable success as a doctor, a naturalist, a scientist and a psychologist. As an artist, he was concerned almost exclusively with landscape painting, although he never practised it professionally. While still at school in Leipzig, he had drawing lessons from Julius Diez; he subsequently studied under Johann Veit Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1764–1841) at the Oeser drawing academy. From 1813 he taught himself oil painting, copying after the Dresden landscape painter Johann Christian Klengel, whom he visited in his studio. In 1811 after six years at university he graduated as a doctor of medicine and a doctor of philosophy. In 1814 he was appointed professor of obstetrics and director of the maternity clinic at the teaching institution for medicine and surgery in Dresden.

 
 

Gustav Carus
A Gondola on the Elbe near Dresden

1827
Oil on canvas, 29 x 22 cm
Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf
 
 

Gustav Carus
Oaks at the Sea Shore

1835
Oil on canvas, 117,5 x 162,5 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden
 
 

Gustav Carus
Pilgrim in a Rocky Valley

c. 1820
Oil on canvas, 28 x 22 cm
Nationalgalerie, Berlin
 
 

Gustav Carus
Morning Fog
 
 

Gustav Carus
Blick auf Dresden von der Bruhlschen Terrasse 
 
 

Gustav Carus
Das Kolosseum in einer Mondnacht
 
 

Gustav Carus
Fenster am Oybin im Mondschein
 
 

Gustav Carus
View of Dresden at Sunset
1822
 
 

Gustav Carus
A Landscape at Sunset
1830
 
 

Gustav Carus
Wanderer on the Mountaintop

1818
 
 

Gustav Carus
Goethe Monument
 
 
 
CASPAR DAVID FRIEDRICH

Born in Greifswald, a smalt harbour town annexed by Prussia in 1815, Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) wasthe sixth of ten children. His early life was characterized by tragedy: his mother died when he was seven years old; his younger sister died at only 20 months; and his brother was drowned as he tried to save Friedrich's life in a skating accident. The artist studied at the Copenhagen Academy of Art, one of the most important art schools in Europe, before moving to Dresden. Admired by his friend Goethe and the dramatist Heinrich von Kleist, his paintings were purchased by Frederick William III of Prussia, on the advice of the 15-year-old prince who later become Frederick William IV. Tsar Nicholas and the Grand Duke Alexander also bought his works. However, Friedrich died in poverty; he was buried in the Trinity Cemetery at Dresden.

 
 

Caspar David Friedrich
The Sea of Ice
1824
 
 

Caspar David Friedrich
Abbey in the Oakwood
1809
 
 
 
THE WAYFARER

The concept of nature that emerged with the Romantic movement gave rise to the figure of the wayfarer, depicted widely in art as well as literature and music. The wayfarer, or wanderer, was a person who had renounced the comfort and security of a home in order to travel through a mysterious and perhaps hostile world, not knowing whether he would ever return. This theme, illustrated predominantly in German culture, arises from an anthropological concept whereby man no longer finds himself at the centre of events and is unable to control them: indeed, very often the world displays a lack of harmony and order that he cannot comprehend or face up to. Romanticism frequently portrayed nature at its most dramatic: raging tempests, bleak, mountainous landscapes, and forests where one could become forever lost. These landscapes are places of extraordinary bleakness and solitude, where man moves aimlessly and wearily, impelled by an irrational quest for the absolute. Wanderers often peopled the canvases of Ludwig Adrian Richter (1803-84) andCaspar David Friedrich, who successfully captured the essence of the wayfarer's long and uncertain journey.The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is one of the most famous paintings of the Romantic movement: it symbolizes solitude, expresses despair, and explores the mystery that engulfs the figure, whose gaze is turned towards the abyss. This canvas represents the experience of human life as the ultimate journey, one that leads towards infinity and death.

 
 

Caspar David Friedrich
The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog
1818
 
 

Ludwig Adrian Richter
Wayfarer Resting in the Mountains
 
 
 
THE MYTHOLOGY OF THE NIGHT

In contrast to the Apollonian clarity that dominated the aesthetic ideal of Neoclassicism, the "Romantic night" became a protagonist in its own right for some artists. It was peopled with spectral apparitions, strange, ambiguous creatures, and fantastical figures like those in the paintings of Henry Fuseli. Night was expressed as the secret moment of human experience, inhabited by the most terrifying psychic forces. The success of the nocturne, which became an elaborate musical form during this period and was favoured by Chopin, was partly responsible for the theme being adopted and explored by visual artists. A night setting greatly-intensified the emotional significance of an ocean horizon, a Gothic ruin gripped by frost, or a forest where trunks and branches became ghostly, distorted patterns. There were clear parallels in the operas of Wagner, which exemplified many of the themes of Romanticism in music. One powerful portrayal of the night was produced byGeorge Stubbs (1724-1806) in Lion Attacking a Horse. The white horse rears in terror as a lion springs onto its back out of the darkness. The contrast between the proud nobility of the domestic animal and the savagery of the wild beast becomes a symbol of the opposing energies that inhabit the human soul and sustain its mystery.
The figures in the canvases of Caspar David Friedrich, such as those in Moonrise over the Sea, cast their eyes towards a limitless horizon, lit by a pale, distant moon. Their silent contemplation seems dominated by the night. Although these figures are placed at the very edge of the earth and are completely anonymous, the viewer can empathize with them.

 
 

Caspar David Friedrich
Moonrise over the Sea
1822
Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin

It is not so much Friedrich s spirit of existentialism as his portrayal of nature as 
the protagonist of the piece that was to have such a profound influence on landscape painters in Europe
 
 
 
George Stubbs

born Aug. 24, 1724, Liverpool, Eng. 
died July 10, 1806, London 

outstanding English animal painter and anatomical draftsman.

The son of a prosperous tanner, Stubbs was briefly apprenticed to a painter but was basically self-taught. His interest in anatomy, revealed at an early age, became one of the driving passions of his life. His earliest surviving works are 18 plates etched for Dr. John Burton's Essay Towards a Complete New System of Midwifery (1751). In the 1750s Stubbs made an exhaustive analysis of the anatomy of the horse. He rented a farmhouse in a remote Lincolnshire village, where, over a period of 18 months, he undertook the painstaking dissection of innumerable specimens. After moving permanently to London in 1760, Stubbs etched the plates for Anatomy of the Horse (1766), which became a major work of reference for naturalists and artists alike. Stubbs soon established a reputation as the leading painter of portraits of the horse. His masterly depictions of hunters and racehorses brought him innumerable commissions. Perhaps more impressive than the single portraits are his pictures of informal groups of horses, such as “Mares and Foals in a Landscape” (c. 1760–70; Tate Gallery, London).

Stubbs also painted a wide variety of other animals, including the lion, tiger, giraffe, monkey, and rhinoceros, which he was able to observe in private menageries. According to the artist Ozias Humphrey, Stubbs was so convinced of the importance of observation that he visited Italy in 1754 only to reinforce his belief that nature is superior to art. Among Stubbs's best-known pictures are several depicting a horse being frightened or attacked by a lion (“Horse Frightened by a Lion,” 1770) in which he emphasizes the wild terror of the former and the predatory power of the latter.

Stubbs's historical paintings are among the least successful of his works; much more convincing are his scenes of familiar country activities done in the 1770s. Unfortunately, he tended to execute his paintings in thin oil paint, and relatively few survive in undamaged condition. In later life Stubbs knew considerable hardship. His last years were spent on a final work of anatomical analysis: A Comparative Anatomical Exposition of the Structure of the Human Body, with that of a Tiger and Common Fowl, for which he completed 100 drawings and 18 engravings. The Anatomical Works of George Stubbs was published in 1975.

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 

George Stubbs
A Horse Frightened by a Lion
 
 

George Stubbs
Lion Attacking a Horse
 
 

George Stubbs
 Lion Devouring a Horse
176
3
 
 

George Stubbs
 Lion Attacking a Horse
1769
 
 
 
Caspar David Friedrich

born Sept. 5, 1774, Greifswald, Pomerania [Germany] 
died May 7, 1840, Dresden, Saxony 

pioneer early 19th-century German Romantic painter. His vast, mysterious landscapes and seascapes proclaimed man's helplessness against the forces of nature and did much to establish the idea of the sublime as central concerns of the Romantic movement.

Friedrich studied from 1794 to 1798 at the academy at Copenhagen but was largely self-taught. Settling at Dresden, he became a member of an artistic and literary circle that included the painter Philipp Otto Runge and the writers Ludwig Tieck and Novalis. His drawings in sepia, executed in his neat early style, won the poet J. W. von Goethe's approval and a prize from the Weimar Art Society in 1805. His first important oil painting, “The Cross in the Mountains” (c. 1807), established his mature style, characterized by an overwhelming sense of isolation, and was an attempt to replace the traditional symbology of religious painting with one drawn from nature. Other symbolic landscapes, such as “Shipwreck in the Ice” (1822), reveal his fatalism and obsession with death. Though based on close observation of nature, his works were coloured by his imaginative response to the atmosphere of the Baltic coast and the Harz Mountains, which he found both awesome and ominous. In 1824 he was made professor of the Dresden academy. For a long time his work was forgotten; but it was revived when the 20th century recognized its own existential isolation in his work.

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 
ECSTASY AND ESTRANGEMENT

The treatment of time by Romantic artists tended to fall into two categories. Sometimes, it appeared to be compressed by the whirling mass of dramatic events, a portrayal that was particularly common in the works of Delacroix and Gericault. Elsewhere, however, it appears that time has suddenly ceased to exist, and cannot be perceived or contemplated. At such moments, man finds himself estranged, and the literal meaning of the word "ecstasy" as "outside one's own mind" is applicable. This definition calls to mind Friedrich's portrayal of the human condition, where nature serves as a vast backdrop against which the irreconcilable solitude of humanity is projected. Monk on the Seashore again shows the religious symbolism that is often found in Friedrich's work, while lacking an explicit, specific religion. It also conveys the presence of a mystery before which man no longer has any power: he can contemplate it. but to be able to measure himself against this anonymous force, he must come "out of himself". The word "monk" comes from the Greek for "alone", and we share his powerful sense of loneliness with him. The artist's chosen setting for his painting A Man and a Woman Contemplate the Moon is a German forest, in which there is no visible path for the figures to follow. Among the dark silhouettes of the trees linger two figures who look across the landscape at the moon, which hangs low in the night sky. A symbol of Christ, the moon indicates a hope given to humankind; it is also a sign of the supernatural world in which that hope may be eventually fulfilled.

 
 

Caspar David Friedrich
A Man and a Woman Contemplate the Moon
1830-35
 
 

Caspar David Friedrich
Monk on the Seashore
1810
 
 
 

 
 
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