What are some similarities in the priorities and theories of Romantic artists and poets?
I have to write a report on the work of John Constable (an English landscape painter of the Romantic period) with the main purpose of indicating similarities in the priorities and theories of Romantic artists and poets.
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The ideas and priorities of Romantic artisits can be summed up in one concept: optimism. This optimism arose out of the belief that it was the indidivual - not a tradition or institution - that had the power to change the world. Romantic artists were particularly concerned with man's ability to reach truths through his own thoughts and actions. During this period, "the concept of 'the sublime' (a thrilling emotional experience that combines awe, magnificence, and horror) was introduced. Feeling and emotion were viewed as superior to logic and analysis." This is in contrast to the Age of Reason and Enlightenment thinkers because Romantics were not concerned with what category a particular tree would be labeled as, but instead what feelings or emotions that tree could cause a person to have. This celebration of the wonder and beauty (and even supernatural powers) of nature runs throughout all Romantic art and literature.
In the seminal work of American Romantic poetry, "Psalm of Life," Longfellow tells his audience that we "must be up and doing," not waiting for life to happen to us, but instead going out and grabbing life by the horns. He says that if we don't, we are allowing our hearts to "beat funeral marches to the grave," quielty wading through life until we die.
Other authors you might want to explore are Emerson, Blake, Keats, Washington Irving, and Thoreau.
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