It is one of the many apparent contradictions of Romanticism that it
became, despite the desire tor untrammeled freedom of individual
creativity, art for the rising professional and commercial class, which
effectively dominated nineteenth-century society and which replaced
state commissions and aristocratic-patronage as the most important
source of support for artists. Painting remains the greatest creative
achievement or Romanticism in the visual arts precisely because, being
less expensive, it was less dependent than architecture or sculpture on
public approval. It held a correspondingly greater appeal for the
individualism of the Romantic artist. Moreover, it could better
accommodate the themes and ideas ol Romantic literature. Romantic
painting was not essentially illustrative; but literature, past and
present, now became a more important source of inspiration for painters
than ever before, and provided them with a new range of subjects,
emotions, and attitudes. Romantic poets, in turn, often saw nature with
a painter's eye. Many had a strong interest in art criticism and theory.
Some, notably Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Victor Hugo, were capable
draftsmen; and William Blake cast his visions in both pictorial and
literary form. Art and literature thus
have a complex, subtle, and by no means one-sided relationship within
the Romantic movement.
contemporary and the only artist of the age who may unreservedly be called a genius. When Goya
first arrived in Madrid in
1766. he found both Mengs and
Tiepolo working there. He was much impressed with the latter, whom he must have
recognized immediately as the greater of the two. Goya's early works, in
a delightful late Rococo vein, reflect the influence of Tiepolo, as well
as the French masters of the Rococo. (Spain had produced no painters of
significance tor over a century.) Nor did he respond to the growing
Neoclassic trend during his brief visit to Rome five years later.
We must begin with the great Spanish painter
In the 1780s, however, Goya became more of a libertarian. His
involvement with Enlightenment thought is best seen in his etchings,
which made him the most important printmaker since Rembrandt. Published
in series at intervals throughout his career, they ridicule human folly
from the same moral viewpoint as Hogarth. But what a vast difference
separates the two artists! Although suggested by proverbs and popular
superstitions, many of Goya's prints defy exact analysis. He creates
terrifying scenes such as The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
from the series Los Caprichos of the late 1790s (fig.
877). The subtitle, added later,
elaborates its meaning: "Imagination abandoned by reason produces
impossible monsters; united with her, she is the mother of the arts."
The artist, shrinking from the assault of his visions, suffers from the same affliction as
Durer's Melencolia I (see fig. 717),
but his paralysis is psychological rather than
conceptual. The image belongs to that realm of subjectively experienced
horror which we will meet in Fuseli's The Nightmare (see fig.
899), but is infinitely
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters,
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Goya's etching owes part or its success to the technique of aquatint,
whose potential he was the first to exploit fully, although he did not
invent it. The process involves melting resin powder on the plate, which
leaves a tine crackle pattern exposed to the acid bath. The result is an
even, medium tone-similar to that of a wash drawing. Aquatint is one of
two new print techniques devised in the eighteenth century, the other,
called mezzotint, is found almost exclusively in portrait and other
reproductive engravings. It utilizes a cylindrical rocker covered with
tiny teeth to pit the surface, providing velvety grays and rich blacks.
Goya surely sympathized with the French Revolution, and not with the
king of Spain, who had joined other monarchs in war against the young
Republic. Yet he was much esteemed at court, where he was appointed
painter to the king in 1799.
Goya now abandoned the Rococo for a Neo-Baroque style
based on Velazquez and Rembrandt, the masters he had come to admire
most. It is this Neo-Baroque style that announces the arrival or
The Family of Charles IV (fig.
Goya's largest royal portrait, deliberately
echoes Velazquez' The Maids of Honor (see fig.
774). The entire clan has come to
visit the artist, who is painting in one of the picture galleries of the
palace. As in the earlier work, shadowy canvases hang behind the group
and the light pours in from the side, although its subtle gradations owe
as much to Rembrandt as to Velazquez. The brushwork, too, has an
incandescent sparkle rivaling that of The Maids of Honor. Goya
does not utilize the Caravaggesque Neoclassicism of David, yet his
painting has more in common with David's work than we might think. Like David, he practices a revival
style and, in his way, is equally devoted to the unvarnished truth: he
uses the Neo-Baroque of Romanticism to unmask the royal family.
Psychologically, The Family of Charles IV is almost
shockingly modern. No longer shielded by the polite conventions of
Baroque court portraiture, the inner being of these individuals has been
laid bare with pitiless candor. They are like a collection of ghosts:
the frightened children, the bloated king, and—in
a master stroke of sardonic humor—the
grotesquely vulgar queen, posed like Velazquez' Princess Margarita.
(Note the left arm and the turn of the head.) How could Goya get away
with this? Was the royal family so dazzled by the splendid painting of
their costumes that they failed to realize what he had done to them?
Goya, we realize, must have painted them as they saw themselves, while
unveiling the truth for all the world to see.
When Napoleon's armies occupied Spain in 1808,
Goya and many other Spaniards hoped that the
conquerors would bring the liberal reforms so badly needed. The barbaric
behavior of the French troops crushed these hopes and generated a
popular resistance of equal savagery. Many of Goya's works from
1815 reflect this bitter experience. The greatest
is The Third of May, 1808 (fig.
commemorating the execution of a group of Madrid
citizens. Here the blazing color, broad, fluid brushwork, and dramatic
nocturnal light are more emphatically Neo-Baroque than ever. The picture
has all the emotional intensity of religious art, but these martyrs are
dying for Liberty, not the Kingdom of Heaven. Nor are their executioners
the agents of Satan but of political tyranny: a formation of faceless
automatons, impervious to their victims' despair and defiance. The same
scene was to be reenacted countless times in modern history. With the
clairvoyance of genius, Goya created an image that has become a
terrifying symbol of our era.
After the defeat of Napoleon, the restored Spanish monarchy brought a
new wave of repression, and Goya withdrew more and more into a private
world. Finally, in 1824,
he went into voluntary exile. After a brief stay in Paris, Goya settled
in Bordeaux, where he died. His importance for the Neo-Baroque Romantic
painters of France is well attested by the greatest of them, Eugene
who said that the ideal style would be a combination of
Michelangelo's and Goya's art.
The Family of Charles IV.
Oil on canvas, 2.8
x 3.4 m.
Museo del Prado, Madrid
of May, 1808.
Oil on canvas, 2.7
Museo del Prado, Madrid
Neoclassicism had largely run its course,
and rapidly lost its purity and rigor. Thus within a few years French
Romantic painting began to emerge among the Primitif faction of
Jacques-Louis David's studio. These rebellious students simplified his
stringent Neoclassicism still further by reverting to the linear designs
of Greek and Etruscan vase painting, and the unadorned manner of the
Italian Early Renaissance. At the same time, they subverted its content
by preferring subjects whose appeal was primarily emotional rather than
intellectual. Their sources were not the classical authors such as
Horace or Ovid but the Bible, Homer, Ossian (the legendary Gaelic bard
whose poems were forged by James Macpherson in
the eighteenth century), and Romantic literature—
anything that excited the imagination. The
ablest, as well as most radical, member of the group was
whose Funeral of Atala (fig.
880) has all the hallmarks of the
Primitif style. Without abandoning his teacher's exacting technique, he
reduces the composition to a rhythmic play of lines across the picture
plane by emphasizing simple shapes with strong contours, which are
further accentuated by the selective highlighting. The scene is taken
from the wildly popular Atala, or The Love of Two Savages in the
Desert by Francois-Rene tic Chateaubriand, one of the first Romantic
authors and later foreign minister of France. The unfinished novel,
published as excerpts in 1801,
unites the character of a classical idyll and the taste
for the exotic with a religious theme at a time of resurgent
Catholicism. These elements are conspicuously present in Girodet's
canvas, which treats the burial of the virtuous young woman in the cave
as the entombment of a Christian martyr. (Note the cross on the
hillside.) Yet unlike the secular martyrdom memorialized by David in
The Death of Marat, the painting is a celebration of sentiment.
Girodet uses an eerie light to evoke an elegiac mood that is his real
Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson. The Funeral of Atala. 1808.
Oil on canvas, 167 x
Musee du Louvre,
1815, with one interruption) gave rise to French
Romanticism. David became an ardent admirer of Napoleon and executed
several large pictures glorifying the emperor. As a portrayer of the
Napoleonic myth, however, he was partially eclipsed by artists who had
been his students. They felt the style of David too confining and
fostered a Baroque revival to capture the excitement of the age.
Jean-Antoine Gros (1771-1835),
David's favorite pupil, shows us Napoleon as a
27-year-old general leading his troops at the Battle of Arcole in
northern Italy (fig. 881).
Painted in Milan, soon after the series of victories
that gave the French the Lombard plain, it conveys Napoleon s magic as
an irresistible "man of destiny," with a Romantic enthusiasm David could
With its glamour and its adventurous conquests in remote parts of the world, the reign of Napoleon (which lasted from
Alter Napoleon's empire collapsed, David spent his last years in
exile in Brussels, where his major works were playfully amorous subjects
drawn from ancient myths or legends and painted in a coolly sensuous
Neo-Mannerist style he had initiated in Paris. I le turned his pupils
over to Gros, urging him to return to Neoclassic orthodoxy. Much as Gros
respected his teacher's doctrines, his emotional nature impelled him
toward the color and drama of the Baroque. He remained torn between his
pictorial instincts and these academic principles. Consequently, he
never achieved David's authority and ended his life by suicide.
apart from Gros, were Michelangelo and the great Baroque
masters. Mounted Officer of the Imperial Guard (fig.
882), painted by Gericault at the
astonishing age of 21,
offers the same conception of the Romantic hero as Gros' Napoleon at
Arcole (see fig. 881),
but on a large scale and with a Rubens-like energy. For
Gericault, politics no longer had the force of a faith. All he saw in
Napoleon's campaigns was the thrill—
irresistible to the Romantic—of
violent action. Ultimately, the ancestors of this splendid figure are
the equestrian soldiers in Leonardo's Battle of Anghiari (see
fig. 636); as in
Leonardo's equestrian image, the rider becomes one with his animal,
whose frenzy he shares. Gericault, himself an enthusiastic horseman,
later became interested in the British animal painters such as George
Napoleon at Arcole. 1796.
Oil on canvas, 74.9 x 58.2 cm.
Musee du Louvre, Paris
The Neo-Baroque trend initiated in France by Gros aroused the
imagination of many talented younger artists. The chief heroes of
Gericault painted his most ambitious work, The Raft of the
"Medusa" (fig. 883),
in response to a political scandal and a modern tragedy of epic
proportions. The Medusa, a government vessel, had foundered off
the West African coast with hundreds of men on board. Only a handful were rescued, after many
days on a makeshilt rait which had been set adrift by the ship s
heartless captain and officers. The event attracted Gericault's
attention because, like many French liberals, he opposed the monarchy
that was restored after Napoleon. He went to extraordinary lengths in
trying to achieve a maximum of authenticity. He interviewed survivors,
had a model of the raft built, even studied corpses in the morgue. This
search tor uncompromising truth is like David's, and The Raft is
indeed remarkable for its powerfully realistic detail. Yet these
preparations were subordinate in the end to the spirit of heroic drama
that dominates the canvas. Gericault depicts the exciting moment when
the rescue ship is first sighted. From the prostrate bodies of the dead
and dying in the foreground, the composition is built up to a climax in
the group that supports the frantically waving black man, so that the
forward surge of the survivors parallels the movement of the raft
itself. Sensing, perhaps, that this theme of "man against the elements"
would have strong appeal across the Channel, where Copley had painted
Watson and the Shark 40
years before (fig. 861),
Gericault took the monumental canvas to Fngland on a
traveling exhibit in 1820.
His numerous studies for The Raft of the "Medusa" had taught
him how to explore extremes of the human condition scarcely touched by
earlier artists. He went now not only to the morgue, but to the insane
asylum of Paris. There he became a friend of Dr. Georget, a pioneer in
modern psychiatry, and painted for him a series of portraits of
individual patients to illustrate various types of derangement, such as
that in figure 884. The
conception and execution of this oil sketch has an immediacy that recalls Frans Hals, but Gericault's sympathy toward
his subject makes his work contrast tellingly with Malle Babbe
(see fig. 788). This
ability to see the victims of mental disease as fellow human beings, not
as accursed or bewitched outcasts, is one of the noblest fruits of the
young to share in the political passions of the Revolution, Ingres never
was an enthusiastic Bonapartist. In 1806
he went to Italy and remained for
18 years, so that he largely
missed out on the formation of Romantic painting in France. Thus after
his return he became the high priest of the Davidian tradition,
defending it from the onslaughts of younger artists. What had been a
revolutionary style only half a century before now congealed into rigid
dogma, endorsed by the government and backed by the weight of
Theodore Gericault. Mounted Officer of the Imperial Guard. 1812.
Oil on canvas,
2.9 x 1.9
m. Musee du Louvre, Paris
Theodore Gericault. The Raft
of the "Medusa." 1818-19.
Oil on canvas, 4.9x7.2 m. Musee du Louvre, Paris
Theodore Gericault. The Madman.
1821-24. Oil on canvas, 61 x 50.8 cm. Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent
The mantle of David finally descended upon his pupil
Ingres is usually called a Neoclassicist, and his opponents
Romantics. Actually, both factions stood for aspects of Romanticism
after 1800: the Neoclassic
phase, with Ingres as the last important survivor, and the Neo-Baroque,
first announced in France by Gros' Napoleon at Arcole. Indeed,
the two seem so interdependent that we should prefer a single name for
both if we could find a suitable one. ("Romantic Classicism," which is
appropriate only to the classical camp, has not won wide acceptance.)
The two sides seemed to revive the old quarrel
between Poussinistes and Rubenistes. The original Poussinistes had never quite
practiced what they preached, and Ingres' views, too, were far more
doctrinaire than his pictures. He always held that drawing was superior
to painting, yet a canvas such as his Odalisque (fig.
885) reveals an exquisite sense
of color. Instead of merely tinting his design, he sets off the
petal-smooth limbs of this Oriental Venus (odalisque is a Turkish word
for a harem slave girl) with a dazzling array of rich tones and
textures. The exotic subject, redolent with the enchantment of the
Thousand and One Nights, is characteristic of the Romantic movement.
(It would be perfectly at home in the Royal Pavilion at Brighton; see
fig. 927.) Despite Ingres'
professed worship of Raphael, this nude embodies no classical ideal of
beauty. Her elongated proportions, languid grace, and strange mixture of
coolness and voluptuousness remind us, rather, of Parmigianino (compare
Dominique Ingres. Odalisque. 1814.
Oil on canvas, 89.7 x 162 cm. Musee du Louvre, Paris
History painting as defined by Poussin remained Ingres' lifelong
ambition, but he had great difficulty with it, while portraiture, which
he pretended to dislike, was his strongest gift and his steadiest source
of income. He was, in fact, the last great professional in a field soon
to be dominated by the camera. Ingres' Louis Bertin (fig.
886) at first glance looks like a
kind of "super-photograph," but this impression is deceptive. Comparing
it with the preliminary pencil drawing (fig.
887), we realize how much interpretation the
portrait contains. The drawing, quick, sure, and precise, is a
masterpiece of detached observation, but the painting endows the sitter
with a massive force of personality. Bertin's pose is shifted slightly
to the left, his jacket open to lend the figure greater weight. The
position of his powerful hands, which are barely indicated in the
drawing, has been adjusted to convey an almost leonine strength. Ingres
further applies the Caravaggesque Neoclassicism he had inherited from David to introduce slight changes of light and
emphasis in the face, subtly altering its expression, which now
manifests a frightening intensity.
Among the Romantics, only Ingres could so unity psychological depth
and physical accuracy. His followers focused on physical accuracy alone,
competing vainly with the camera. The Neo-Baroque Romantics, in
contrast, emphasized the psychological aspect to such a degree that
their portraits tended to become records of the artist's private
emotional relationship with the sitter. Often these are interesting and
moving, but they are no longer portraits in the proper sense of the
Dominique Ingres. Louis Bertin.
Oil on canvas, 116.7 x
95,3 cm. Musee du Louvre, Paris
Dominique Ingres. Louis Bertin. 1832.
Pencil drawing. Musee du Louvre, Paris
was crucial for French painting. Gericault died after a
riding accident. Ingres returned to France from Italy and had his first
public success. The first showing in Paris of works by the English
Romantic painter John Constable was a revelation to many French artists.
The Massacre at Chios
'established Eugene Delacroix as the foremost Neo-Baroque Romantic
painter. An admirer of both Gros and Gericault,
(1798-1863) had been exhibiting
for some years, but The Massacre made his reputation.
Conservatives called it "the massacre of painting," others acclaimed it
enthusiastically. For the next quarter-century, he and Ingres were
acknowledged rivals, and their polarity, fostered by partisans,
dominated the artistic scene in Paris.
Like The Raft of the "Medusa," The Massacre at Chios was
inspired by a contemporary event: the Greek war of independence against the Turks, which stirred a wave of sympathy throughout
western Europe. (The full title of the painting is Scenes of the
Massacre at Chios: Creek Families Awaiting Death or Slavery.)
Delacroix, however, aimed at "poetic truth"
rather than at recapturing a specific, actual event. In this, he relied
on tradition to a surprising degree, for he has conjured up a scene as
brutal as The Rape of the Sabine Women by Nicolas Poussin
(compare fig. 809). The
picture is treated as the kind of secular martyrdom already familiar to
us from Benjamin West's The Death of General Wolfe (fig.
860). Now, however, the victims
are as nameless as those in The Raft of the "Medusa."
Such sources have been combined into an intoxicating mixture of
sensuousness and cruelty. Delacroix does not entirely succeed, however,
in forcing us to suspend our disbelief. While we revel in the sheer
splendor of the painting, we do not quite accept the human experience as
authentic. We react instead much as we do to J. M. W. Turner's Slave
Ship (see fig. 905).
One reason may be the discontinuity of the foreground, with its dramatic
contrasts of light and shade, and the luminous sweep of the landscape
behind. Delacroix is said to have hastily repainted part of the
background after seeing Constable's The Haywain (see fig.
903). Originally, the background
of The Massacre was probably like that in Gericault's Mounted
Officer (fig. 882),
and the Turkish horseman, too, directly recalls the rider in the earlier
Delacroix's sympathy with the Greeks did not prevent him from sharing
the enthusiasm of fellow Romantics for the Near East. He was enchanted
by a visit to North Africa in 1832,
finding there a living counterpart of the violent, chivalric, and
picturesque past evoked in Romantic literature. His sketches from this
trip supplied him with a large repertory of subjects for the rest of his
life: harem interiors, street scenes, lion hunts. It is fascinating to
compare his Odalisque (fig.
with Ingres' (fig. 885).
Sonorous color and the energetically fluid brushwork
show Delacroix to be a Rubeniste of the first order. In his version,
Ingres also celebrates the exotic world of the Near East—alien,
seductive, and violent—but
how different the result! Reclining in ecstatic repose, Delacroix's
Odalisque exudes passionate abandon and animal vitality—the
exact opposite of Ingres' ideal.
The Entombment of Christ (fig.
painted in 1848,
marks a shift in Delacroix's art. The painting has a new
grandeur and an air of almost classical restraint. This change was
perhaps an outgrowth of a decorative cycle Delacroix did over the
previous several years in the Bourbon Palace, which brought him into
renewed contact with the tradition of Western art: his work shows a
preference for literary and biblical themes, without abandoning his
earlier subjects. This may be seen as part of a larger crisis of
tradition that gripped French art beginning in
1848, when revolution was in the air everywhere.
Delacroix was now seen, with Ingres, as the last great representative of
the mainstream of European painting. As the critic Charles Baudelaire
wrote in his Salon of 1846:
"Delacroix is ...
heir to the great tradition. . .
. But take away Delacroix, and the great chain of
history is broken and slips to the ground. It is true that the great
tradition has been lost, and that the new one is not yet established."
The Entombment suggests Delacroix's
awareness of his new status. The painting combines overtones of Titian
and Rubens with Poussinesque nobility to make it that rarity in
truly moving religious image.
(1808-1879), one of the
few Romantic artists who did not shrink from reality, remained in his
day practically unknown as a painter. He turned to painting in the 1840s but found no public for his work.
Only a few friends encouraged him and, a year before his death, arranged
his first solo exhibition. Thus his pictures had little impact during
Eugene Delacroix. The
Massacre at Chios. 1822-24.
Oil on canvas,
4.2 x 3.5
m. Musee du Louvre, Paris
Eugene Delacroix. Odalisque.
x 46.5 cm. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England
Eugene Delacroix. The
Entombment of Christ. 1848.
Oil on canvas, 162.6
x 132.1 cm. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The later work of Delacroix reflects the attitude that
eventually doomed the Romantic movement: its growing detachment from
contemporary life. History, literature, the Bible, and the Near East
were the domains of the imagination where he sought refuge from the
turmoil of the Industrial Revolution. It is ironic that
A biting political cartoonist, Daumier contributed satirical drawings
to, various Paris weeklies for most of his career (fig.
891). Nearly all of Daumier's
cartoons were done with lithography. Invented in Germany shortly before
1800 by Alois Senefelder, it is the most important of the planographic processes,
meaning that the print is made on a flat surface. Using a greasy-crayon
or ink, called tusche, the artist draws or brushes the design onto a
special lithographic stone; alternatively, it can be transferred from
paper. (Metals such as zinc and aluminum have also been used as plates.)
Once the design is fixed by an acid wash, the surface is dampened, then
rolled with oily ink, which adheres to the greasy design but is repelled
by water. The print is made by rubbing moistened paper under light
pressure against the stone. Because a limitless number of prints can be
pulled relatively cheaply, lithography has been closely associated from
the beginning with commercial printing and the popular press.
Although Daumier is sometimes called a realist, his work falls
entirely within the range of Romanticism. The neat outlines and
systematic crosshatching in Daumier's early cartoons (fig.
891) show his conservative
training. He quickly
developed a bolder and more personal style of draftsmanship, however,
and his paintings of the 1850s and 1860s have the full pictorial range
of the Neo-Baroque. Their subjects vary widely. Many show aspects of
everyday urban life that also occur in his cartoons, now viewed with a
painter's eye rather than from a satirist's angle. In The Third-Class
Carnage (fig. 892),
Daumier's forms reflect the compactness of Millet's (compare fig.
897), but are painted so freely
that they must have seemed raw and "unfinished" even by Delacroix's
standards. Yet its power derives from this very freedom. Daumier's
concern is not for the tangible surface of reality but for the emotional
meaning behind it. In The Third-Class Carriage, he has captured a
peculiarly modern human condition: "the lonely crowd."
These people have in common only that they are
traveling together in a railway car. Though they are physically crowded,
they take no notice of one another, for each is alone with his or her
own thoughts. Daumier explores this state with an insight into character
and a breadth of human sympathy worthy of Rembrandt, whose work he
revered. His feeling for the dignity of the poor also suggests the Le
Nains, who had recently been rediscovered by French critics. Indeed, the
old woman on the left in Louis Le Nain's Peasant Family (fig.
806) seems the direct
ancestor of the central figure in The Third-Class Carriage.
Other paintings by Daumier have subjects more characteristic of
Romanticism. The numerous canvases and drawings of the adventures of Don
Quixote, from Cervantes' sixteenthcentury novel, show the fascination this theme had for him. The lanky
knight-errant, vainly trying to live his dream of noble deeds, and
Sancho Panza, the dumpy materialist, seemed to embody for Daumier a
tragic conflict within human nature that forever pits the soul against
the body, ideal aspirations against harsh reality. In Don Quixote
Attacking the Windmills (fig. 893),
this polarity is forcefully realized. The mock hero
dashes off in the noonday heat toward an invisible, distant goal, while
Panza helplessly wrings his hands, a monument of despair. The sculptured
simplicity of Daumier's shapes, and the expressive freedom of his
brushwork, make Delacroix's art seem almost conventional by comparison.
Honore Daumier. It's Safe
to Release This One! 1834.
Honore Daumier. The
Third-Class Carnage, ñ 1862.
Oil on canvas, 66 x
The Metropolitan Museum
of Art, New York
Honore Daumier. Don
Quixote Attacking the Windmills,
Oil on canvas, 56.5
Collection Mr. Charles S. Payson, New York
French Landscape Painting
Thanks to the cult of nature, landscape painting became the most
characteristic form of Romantic art. The Romantics believed that God's
laws could be seen written in nature. While it arose out of the
Enlightenment, their faith, known as pantheism, was based not on
rational thought but on subjective experience, and the appeal to the
emotions rather than the intellect made those lessons all the more
compelling. In order to express the feelings inspired by nature, the
Romantics sought to transcribe landscape as faithfully as possible, in
contrast to the Neoclassicists, who subjected landscape to prescribed
ideas of beauty and linked it to historical subjects. At the same time,
the Romantics felt equally free to modify nature's appearance as a means
of evoking heightened states of mind in accordance with dictates of the
imagination, the only standard they ultimately recognized. Landscape
inspired the Romantics with passions so exalted that only in the hands
of the greatest history painters could humans equal nature in power as
protagonists. Hence, the Romantic landscape lies outside the descriptive
and emotional range of the eighteenth century.
1825 he went to Italy for two
years and explored the countryside around Rome, like a latter-day Claude
Lorraine. What Claude recorded in his drawings—the
quality of a particular place at a particular time—Corot
made into paintings, small canvases done on the spot in an hour or so
In size and immediacy, these quickly executed pictures are analogous to Constable's oil
sketches (see fig.
902), yet they stem from
different traditions. If Constable's view of nature, which emphasizes
the sky as "the chief organ of sentiment," is derived from Dutch
seventeenth-century landscapes, Corot's instinct for architectural
clarity and stability recalls Poussin and Claude. But he, too, insists
on "the truth of the moment." His exact observation and his readiness to
seize upon any view that attracted him during his excursions show the
same commitment to direct visual experience that we find in Constable.
The Neoclassicists had also painted oil sketches out-of-doors. Unlike
them, Corot did not transform his sketches into idealized pastoral
visions. His willingness to accept them as independent works of art
marks him unmistakably as a Romantic.
The first and undeniably greatest French Romantic landscape painter was
View of Rome: The Bridge and Castel Sant Angela
with the Cupola of St. Peter's.
Oil on paper mounted on canvas,
22 x 38
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
After returning from his second visit to Italy in
1834, Corot began to paint
historical landscapes which combine stylistic and topographical features
from Italy and the North in eclectic fashion. But during the 1840s he
gradually developed a unique style that appears in its definitive form
in Morning: Dance of the Nymphs (fig.
895). The painting has rightly been called a souvenir of the opera, especially the ballets traditional in
Parisian productions which he habitually sketched. He found in them a
common bond of feeling with painting that provided inspiration for his
work. The landscape shows a new unity between the figures and their
setting. The silvery light creates a veiled atmosphere that envelops the
forms and lends the painting an elusive mood reminiscent of that in
Poussin's late works (see fig. 810).
In this way, Corot reconciles romantic sentiment and
Morning: Dance of the Nymphs was the outgrowth of the crisis of
tradition in French art and of a personal crisis: when he painted it,
Corot was approaching old age with considerable anxiety, and in Poussin
he discovered a kindred spirit burdened with similar fears. Thus it was
Corot's own development that enabled him to unlock the secret of late
Poussin and learn how to interpret nature in a deeply poetic way.
settled in the village of Barbizon on the edge of the
forest of Fontainebleau near Paris to paint landscapes and scenes of
rural life. Enthused, however, by Constable, whose work had been
exhibited in Paris in 1824,
they turned to the Northern Baroque landscape as an
alternative to the Neoclassical tradition. From Ruisdael's example (fig.
798), Rousseau learned how
to imbue his encrusted forms and gnarled trees with a sense of inner
life, but it was the hours of solitary contemplation in the forest of
Fontainebleau that enabled him to penetrate nature's secrets. A
Meadow Bordered by Trees (fig. 896)
is a splendid representative of his landscapes, which
are filled with a simple veneration that admirably reflects the rallying
cry of the Romantics—sincerity.
Camille Corot. Morning:
Dance of the Nymphs. 1850.
Oil on canvas, 97.1 x
130 cm. Musee du Louvre, Paris
Corot's early fidelity to nature was an important model for
the Barbizon School, though he was not actually a member. This group of
younger painters, centering on
became a member of the Barbizon School in
1848, the year revolution swept
France and the rest of Europe. Although he was no radical, The Sower
(fig. 897) was
championed by liberal critics, because it was the very opposite of the
Neoclassical history paintings sanctioned by the establishment. Millet's
archetypal image nonetheless has a self-consciously classical flavor that
reflects his admiration for Poussin. Blurred in the hazy atmosphere,
this "hero of the soil" is a timeless symbol of the ceaseless labor that
the artist viewed as the peasant's inexorable fate. (Could Millet have
known the pathetic sower from the October page of Les Tres Riches
Heures du Duc de Berry? Compare fig.
Ironically, the painting monumentalizes a rural
way of life that was rapidly disappearing under the pressure of the
Industrial Revolution. For that very reason, however, the peasant was
seen as the quintessential victim of the evils arising from the Machine
Theodore Rousseau. A Meadow
Bordered by Trees, ñ.
Oil on panel, 41.6 x
Museum of Art, New York
1848. That same year
Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899),
also an artist who worked out-of-doors, received a French government
commission that led to her first great success and helped to establish
her as a leading painter of animals—and
eventually as the most famous woman artist of her time. Her painting
Plowing in the Nivernais (fig.
was exhibited the following year, after a winter spent
making studies from life. The theme of humanity's union with nature had
already been popularized in the country romances of George Sand, among
others. Bonheur's picture shares Millet's reverence for peasant life,
but the real subject here, as in all her work, is the animals within the
landscape. These she depicts with a convincing naturalism that later
placed her among the most influential realists.
Jean-Francois Millet. The
c. 1850. Oil
101.6 x 82.6 cm.
Courtesy, Museum of
Fine Arts, Boston
The Barbizon School generally advocated a return to nature
as a way of fleeing the social ills attendant to industrialization and
urbanization. Despite their conservative outlook, these artists were
elevated to a new prominence in French art by the popular revolution of
898. Rosa Bonheur.
Plowing in the Nivernais. 1849.
Oil on canvas,
x 2.6 m.
Musee d'Orsay, Paris
was a contemporary of West and Copley. This Swiss-born
painter (originally named Fussli) had an extraordinary impact on his
time, more perhaps because of his adventurous and forceful personality
than the merits of his work. Ordained a minister at
20, he had left the Church by
and gone to London in search of freedom.
Encouraged by Reynolds, he spent the 1770s in Rome. There he encountered
Gavin Hamilton, but Fuseli based his style on Michelangelo and the
Mannerists, not on Poussin and the antique. A German acquaintance of
those years described him as "extreme in everything, Shakespeare's
painter." Shakespeare and Michelangelo were indeed his twin gods. He
even visualized a Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo's figures transformed
into Shakespearean characters where the sublime would be the common
denominator for "classic" and "Gothic" Romanticism. Such fusion marks
Fuseli as a transitional figure. He espoused many of the same
Neoclassical theories as Reynolds, West, and Kauffmann, but bent their
rules virtually to the breaking point.
England was as precocious in nurturing Romanticism as it had been in
promoting Neoclassicism. In fact, one of its first representatives,
We see this in The Nightmare (fig.
The sleeping woman, more Mannerist than Michelangelesque,
is Neoclassical. The grinning devil and the luminescent horse, however,
come from the demon-ridden world of medieval folklore, while the
Rembrandtesque lighting reminds us of Reynolds (compare fig.
843). Here the Romantic quest for
terrifying experiences leads not to physical violence but to the dark recesses of the mind. What
was the genesis of The Nightmare Nightmares often have a
strongly sexual connotation, sometimes quite openly expressed, at other
times concealed behind a variety of disguises. We know that Fuseli
originally conceived the subject not long after his return from Italy,
when he had fallen violently in love with a friend's niece who soon
married a merchant, much to the artist's distress. We can see in the
picture a projection of his "dream girl," with the demon taking the
artist's place while the horse, a well-known erotic symbol, looks on.
possessed an even greater creativity and stranger personality than his
own. A recluse and visionary, Blake produced and published his own books
with engraved text and hand-colored illustrations. Though he never left
England, he acquired a large repertory of Michelangelesque and Mannerist
motifs from engravings, as well as through the influence of Fuseli. He
also conceived a tremendous admiration for the Middle Ages, and came
closer than any other Romantic artist to reviving pre-Renaissance forms.
(His books were meant to be the successors of illuminated manuscripts.)
Henry Fuseli . The
Oil on canvas, 75.5
x 64 cm.
Frankfurter Goethe-Museum, Frankfurt
Later, in London, Fuseli befriended the poet-painter
These elements are all present in Blake's memorable image The
Ancient of Days (fig.
900). The muscular figure,
radically foreshortened and fitted into a circle of light, is derived
from Mannerist sources (see fig. 901),
while the symbolic compasses come from medieval
representations of the Lord as Architect of the Universe. With these
precedents, we would expect the Ancient of Days to signify Almighty God,
but in Blake's esoteric mythology, he stands rather for the power of
reason, which the poet regarded as ultimately destructive, since it
stifles vision and inspiration. To Blake, the "inner eye" was
all-important; he felt no need to observe the visible world around him.
The Ancient of Days,
frontispiece of Europe, A Prophesy.
Library of Congress, Washington. D.C.
901. Taddeo Zuccaro.
Conversion of St. Paul (detail), ñ. 1555.
Oil on canvas. Palazzo Doria-Pamphili.
English Landscape Painting
(1776-1837) admired both Ruisdael and Claude, yet
he strenuously opposed all flights of fancy. Landscape painting, he
believed, must be based on observable facts. It should aim at "embodying
a pure apprehension of natural effect." Toward that end, he painted
countless oil sketches outdoors. These were not the first such studies,
but, more than his predecessors, he was concerned with the intangible
sky, light, and atmosphere—rather
than the concrete details of the scene. Often, as in Hampstead Heath
(fig. 902), the land
serves as no more than a foil for the ever-changing drama overhead,
which he studied with a meteorologist's accuracy, the better to grasp
its infinite variety. In endeavoring to record these fleeting effects,
he arrived at a painting technique as broad, free, and personal as that
of Cozens' "ink-blot landscapes," even though his point of departure was
the exact opposite.
It was nevertheless in landscape rather than in narrative scenes that
English painting reached its fullest expression. During the eighteenth
century, landscape paintings had been, for the most part, imaginative
exercises conforming to Northern and Italian examples.
All of Constable's pictures show familiar views of the English
countryside. It was, he later claimed, the scenery around
his native Stour Valley that made him a painter. Although he painted
the final versions in his studio, he prepared them by making oil studies
based on sketches from nature. The sky, to him, remained "the keynote,
standard scale, and the chief organ of sentiment," as a mirror of those
sweeping forces so dear to the Romantic view of nature. In The Haywain (fig.
painted the same year as Hampstead Heath,
he has caught a particularly splendid moment: a great expanse of wind,
sunlight, and clouds over the spacious landscape. The earth and sky have
both become organs of sentiment informed with the artist's poetic
sensibility. At the same time, there is an intimacy in this monumental composition that reveals Constable's deep love of the countryside.
This new, personal note is characteristically Romantic. Since Constable
has painted the landscape with such conviction, we see the scene through
his eyes and believe him, even though it perhaps did not look quite this
way in reality.
John Constable. Hampstead Heath.
Oil sketch on paper, mounted on canvas,
30.5 cm. City Art Galleries, Manchester, England
Oil on canvas, 130.1
x 185.4 cm. The National Gallery, London
In 1829 a marked change
came over Constable's work. Deeply affected by his wife's death a year
earlier, he was subject to darkened moods. Salisbury Cathedral from
the Meadows (fig. 904),
begun that summer, stands as his most personal
statement. When the canvas was exhibited two years later, he appended
nine lines from The Seasons by the eighteenth-century poet James
Thompson that reveal its meaning: the rainbow is a symbol of hope after
a storm that follows on the death of the young Amelia in the arms of her
lover Celadon. Although a political intent has sometimes been seen in
the landscape, there can be little doubt of its autobiographical
significance. To the left of the huge ash tree, a symbol of life, is a
cenotaph; to the right the great church, one of his major themes, a
symbol of faith and resurrection. The rainbow, added late in the
composition's development, suggests the artist's renewed optimism. Thus
the painting reflects his changing frame of mind.
Constable continued to work on The Rainbow, as he called it, on
and off for several more years. He attached great importance to the
painting, which he regarded as the fullest expression of his art and
felt would be considered his finest work by future generations. It is
indeed an astonishing achievement. The amazingly free application of
paint (much of it done with a palette knife) and rich, somber color
evoke an agitation not seen before in his landscapes. All nature is
caught up in the fury of a cataclysmic event beyond human comprehension.
Every leaf, every branch acts as an index of feeling, expressing the
artist's turbulent emotions. Once again it is the sky that provides the
keynote: now the storm has clearly passed. No other painter before or
since was able to capture the play of the elements with such power. Even
paintings by his great rival Joseph Mallord William Turner seem tame by
John Constable. Salisbury Cathedral from
the Meadows. 1829-34.
Oil on canvas, 151.8 x
189.9 cm. Private collection
(1775-1851) arrived at a style that Constable
deprecatingly but accurately described as "airy visions, painted with
tinted steam." Turner
began as a watercolorist; the use of translucent tints on white paper
may help to explain his preoccupation with colored light. Like Constable, he made copious studies from nature (though
not in oils), but the scenery he selected satisfied the Romantic taste
for the picturesque and the sublime—mountains,
the sea, or sites linked with historic events. In his full-scale
pictures he often changed these views so freely that they became quite
Many of Turner's landscapes are linked with literary themes and bear
such titles as The Destruction of Sodom, or Snowstorm:
Hannibal Crossing the Alps, or Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: Italy.
When they were exhibited, he would add appropriate quotations from
ancient or modern authors to the catalogue, or he would make up some
lines himself and claim to be "citing" his own unpublished poem,
"Fallacies of Hope." Yet these canvases are the opposite of history
painting as defined by Poussin: the titles indeed indicate "noble and
serious human actions," but the tiny figures, lost in the seething
violence of nature, suggest the ultimate defeat of all endeavor—"the
fallacies of hope."
The Slave Ship (fig.
905) is one of Turner's most
spectacular visions and illustrates how he transmuted his literary
sources into "tinted steam." First entitled Slavers Throwing
Overboard the Dead and Dying—Typhoon
Coming On, the painting compounds several levels of meaning. Like
Gericault's The Raft of the "Medusa" (see fig.
883), which had been exhibited in
England in 1820, it has to
do, in part, with a specific incident that Turner had recently read
When an epidemic broke out on a slave ship, the captain jettisoned
his human cargo because he was insured against the loss of slaves at
sea, but not by disease. Turner also thought of a relevant passage from
James Thompson's poem The Seasons that describes how sharks
follow a slave ship during a typhoon, "lured by the scent of steaming crowds, or rank disease, and death."
But what is the relation between the slaver's action and the typhoon?
Are the dead and dying slaves being cast into the sea against the threat
of the storm, perhaps to lighten the ship? Is the typhoon nature's
retribution for the captain's greed and cruelty? Of the many storms at
sea that Turner painted, none has quite this apocalyptic quality. A
cosmic catastrophe seems about to engulf everything, not merely the
"guilty" slaver but the sea itself, with its crowds of fantastic and
oddly harmless-looking fish.
While we still feel the force of Turner's imagination, most of us
enjoy, perhaps with a twinge of guilt, the tinted steam for its own sake
rather than as a vehicle of the awesome emotions the artist meant to
evoke. Even in terms of the values he himself acknowledged, Turner
strikes us as "a virtuoso of the Sublime," led astray by his very
exuberance. He must have been pleased by praise from the theorist John
Ruskin, that protagonist of the moral superiority of Gothic style, who
saw in The Slave Ship, which he owned, "the true, the beautiful,
and the intellectual"—all
qualities that raised Turner above older landscape painters. Still,
Turner may have come to wonder if his tinted steam had its intended
effect on all beholders. Soon after finishing The Slave Ship, he
could have read in his copy of Goethe's Color Theory, recently
translated into English, that yellow has a "gay, softly exciting
character," while orange-red suggests "warmth and gladness." Would these
be the emotions aroused by The Slave Ship in a viewer who did not
know its title? Interestingly enough, Turner soon modified his approach
to take Goethe's ideas into account.
Many of Turner's paintings had their origin in watercolors called
"color beginnings" that are as abstract as American
Color Field Painting.
Nevertheless, they always retained a basis in the
artist's actual experiences. Indeed, Turner seems to have sought them
out. Rain, Steam and Speed—
The Great Western Railway (fig.
906) shows the recently completed
Maidenhead railway bridge looking across the Thames River toward London.
It was painted after Turner stuck his head out of a window on the Exeter
express for some nine minutes during a rainstorm. One could hardly ask
for a more vivid impression of speed and atmospheric turbulence! Yet, in
a touch of delicious irony, he has added a hare (hardly visible in our
illustration) racing ahead of the oncoming train.
but the English made the medium their own. Because they
became an indispensable part of the genteel person's education,
watercolors are often thought of as an amateur's medium. After the
middle of the eighteenth century, however, they emerged as a vehicle of
serious artistic expression in the hands of gifted painters like Thomas
Gainsborough and Alexander Cozens.
There was a direct lineage from them to Turner and
Constable, who turned to them late in his career. It descended through
Cozens' equally talented son, John Robert Cozens
(1752-1797), the first to introduce poetic
melancholy into watercolors, and Thomas Girtin
(1752-1802), Turner's brilliant contemporary, who
during his brief career revolutionized the English landscape by
investing it with a Romantic mood. The full potential of watercolors was
realized only in the nineteenth century, when artists like Turner
greatly extended the range of subjects, techniques, and expression. Many
of its most famous practitioners are all but forgotten today, while
others, such as John Sell Cotman (1782— 1842),
who were largely ignored, are now seen as having
made important contributions.
Turner. The Slave
Oil on canvas, 90.5 x 122 cm. Courtesy,
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Turner. Rain, Steam
and Speed—The Great Western Railway. 1844.
Oil on canvas, 90.8 x 122
cm. The National Gallery, London
Turner was the preeminent watercolorist of his time.
Watercolors were first introduced into Britain by visiting Northerners,
who had used them as a means of recording on-the-spot observations since
the time of Durer (see fig.
when his highly unusual style suddenly seemed remarkably
modern. Cotman's watercolors are distinguished by an economy of means
that endows even the simplest subject with monumentality and dignity.
His formalism grew out of the landscape tradition of Nicolas Poussin and
Claude Lorraine, yet he was no classicist. And although he was affected
by the Dutch and Flemish Baroque artists who so influenced Constable,
Cotman's watercolors are among the most original creations of the
English Romantic landscape school during its formative phase. Durham
Cathedral (fig. 907),
a finished watercolor painted in the studio from nature studies, bears the individual stamp of his genius. The artist has
concentrated on the essential elements, reducing the scene to a flat,
nearly abstract pattern. The result is an expressiveness of astonishing
intensity. Cotman emphasizes the sheer massiveness of the great church,
which looms over the house below, as if threatening to crush it. The
landscape bespeaks the English Romantic fascination with the Gothic. It
inspired him with much the same sentiment found in Ruisdael's The
Jewish Cemetery (fig.
while the picture has the elemental power of Constable's
Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (fig.
904). Did Cotman intend it as a
testimony of his personal faith? Of man's works, he seems to say, only
the cathedral, a house of worship, will endure. Yet we know surprisingly
little about his beliefs.
John Sell Cotman.
John Cotman started out in London, where he moved in the same
circles as Turner, but spent most of his career as a drawing master in
the north of England, as much out of a weakness in his character as the
force of circumstances. Although he achieved modest local recognition as
a leader of the Norwich landscape school, he died in obscurity and was
only rediscovered in the
John Sell Cotman.
Durham Cathedral. 1805.
Watercolor on paper, 43.8
The British Museum, London
German artists rediscovered the Gothic, which they
regarded as their native heritage. For the most part, this "Gothic
Revival" remained limited in subject matter and scope, but in the hands
Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840),
the most important German Romantic artist, it acquired a
haunting mystery. A devout Protestant, he had a pantheistic love of
nature that became a vehicle of profound religious sentiment. In
Abbey in an Oak Forest (fig.
all is death—the
ancient graves, the barren trees, and ruined church silhouetted against
Caspar David Friedrich.
In Germany, as in England, landscape was the finest
achievement of Romantic painting, and the underlying ideas, too, were
often strikingly similar. About
winter sky at twilight. Yet we contemplate the forlorn scene with the
same hushed reverence as the solemn procession of monks. Hardly
distinguishable from the tombstones, they seek the crucifix enshrined in
the arched portal, which offers eternal life to the faithful. The frozen
stillness is in marked contrast to the painting by Ruisdael that
probably inspired it (similar to fig.
Infinitely lonely, the bleak landscape is a reflection
of the artist's own melancholy.
When Friedrich painted The Polar Sea (fig. 909),
he may have known of Turner's "Fallacies of Hope," for in an earlier
picture on the same theme (now lost) he had inscribed the name "Hope" on
the crushed vessel. In any case, he shared Turner's attitude toward
human fate. The painting, as so often before, was inspired by a specific
event which the artist endowed with symbolic significance: a dangerous
moment in William Parry's Arctic expedition of 1819-20.
One wonders how Turner might have depicted this scene. Perhaps it
would have been too static for him, but Friedrich was attracted by this
very immobility. He has visualized the piled-up slabs of ice as a kind
of megalithic monument to human defeat built by nature itself. There is
no hint of tinted steam—the
very air seems frozen—nor
any subjective handwriting. We look right through the paint-covered
surface at a reality that seems created without the painter's
This technique, impersonal and meticulous, is peculiar to German
Romantic painting. It stems from the early Neoclassicists, but the
Germans, whose tradition of Baroque painting was weak, adopted it more
wholeheartedly than the English or the French. Friedrich absorbed this
approach at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, and although in his hands it yielded
extraordinary effects, the results proved disappointing for most German
artists, who lacked his compelling imagination.
Caspar David Friedrich.
Abbey in an Oak Forest. 1809-10.
Oil on canvas, 111.8 x 174 cm. Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin
Caspar David Friedrich. The Polar Sea.
Oil on canvas, 97.7 x
128.2 cm. Kunsthalle,
Philipp Otto Runge.(1777-1810),
who attended the Copenhagen academy soon after
Friedrich, shared many of the same ideas but expressed them very
differently. His most important work was a series of four allegorical
landscapes devoted to the times of day that occupied him throughout his
brief career and was left incomplete at his death. The paintings
incorporate an ambitious program having several levels of meaning. They
stand for, among other things, the seasons and the Ages of Man. The set
was intended for a Gothic chapel of Runges own design, where poetry and
music by his friends would be heard.
Philipp Otto Runge
Morning, the only picture to be finished, was later cut up and
survives only in fragments, but a slightly earlier, smaller version
(fig. 910) gives a good
idea of its appearance. The landscape represents spring and childhood.
Within Runge's program, it also signifies "the boundless illumination of
the universe." Aurora-Venus (compounding the rising sun and the morning
star) hovers over the Christlike infant as child genii sprout from a
lily above. (Flowers in Runge's highly personal system become symbols of
universal life through emotional identification with their forms.) The
decorated frame, inspired by medieval manuscripts (compare fig.
438), expands on the meaning of
the central image. The light of revelation, eclipsed by darkness below,
liberates the soul trapped beneath the earth within the roots of the
bulb. Above, the soul rises transcendent as a genius from the lily to the heavens and is transformed
into an angel.
Morning is an extraordinary synthesis of Classical mythology and
Christian faith, Romantic attitudes and Neoclassical technique. Painting
for Runge was a deeply spiritual act revealing the divinity of nature.
To him, this elevated conception required abstraction to express the
poetic idea. Thus the artist communicates his intent through the
stylized forms and symmetrical composition. More generally, Morning
represents the mystical yearning of the soul for the infinite so
dear to the German Romantic. This ecstatic vision, the "chord" of
harmony as he put it, is depicted using the same method as Friedrich's.
Every detail has been precisely observed. The picture surface,
transparent as glass, makes us look at nature with the same innocence as
the newborn child. As a result, the landscape has a disarming
simplicity, despite the complexity of its program. In the end, it is the
painting technique that validates Runge's ideas and makes them
a group of young German painters at the Vienna Academy banded together
to form the Guild of St. Luke, after the artists' guilds of old. They
equated simplicity with pious virtue, as against virtuosity, which
precluded the heartfelt sincerity that was their goal. Two years later
they decided to lead the life of artists-monks at an abandoned monastery
near Rome, where they became known as the Nazarenes. Although their work
at first had a striking purity, the painstaking precision of the old
German masters and the style of the Early Renaissance they also affected
reinforced the Neoclassic emphasis on form at the expense of color,
which was put to the service of an increasingly inflated rhetoric. The
Nazarene movement gradually petered out as its members died or returned
to Germany, where they established the mainstream of German Romanticism.
Philipp Otto Runge. Morning.
Oil on canvas,
109 x 85.4 cm.
(1789-1869). This manifesto by the movement's
"priest" expresses the North's long-standing love-hate relationship with
the South. It shows personifications of the two countries, so different
in every respect, reconciled in tender friendship. The painting is at
once a nostalgic reminiscence of the artist's homeland and a celebration
of the beauty he found around him in Rome, both united in harmony and
mutual respect. Its source, we recognize, is Angelica Kauffmann's
self-portrait (fig. 862),
byway of German portraiture.
The Nazarenes were at their best in intimate subjects, such
as Italia and Germania (fig.
Italia and Germania.
1811-28. Oil on canvas,
Neue Pinakothek, Munich