In a revolt against Rationalism, Romanticism was characterized by a return to nature and belief in the goodness of humanity, with the artist considered to be a profoundly individual creator. Beginning in the early 19th century, Romantic ideals developed largely in opposition to entrenchment in the traditions of Greco-Roman antiquity, and advocated an open-ended and progressive - that is, modern - view of the age. Yet Romantic artists, searching perhaps for unattainable ideals, also turned back to the late medieval and Renaissance periods for nostalgic themes from the Judeo-Christian heritage; with the aid of these themes, they believed that a politically and intellectually enlightened utopia could be achieved. Romantic styles and subjects varied widely throughout Europe and America, ranging from tranquil contemplative scenes to spectacularly staged events, and it is precisely this diversity that lends Romantic art its fascination and lasting influence. About Taschen's "Basic Art Movement and Genre" series: Each book includes a detailed introduction with approximately 35 photographs, plus a timeline of the most important events (political, cultural, scientific, etc.) that took place during the time period. The body of the book contains a selection of the most important works of the epoch; each is presented on a 2-page spread with a full-page image and, on the facing page, a description/interpretation of the work, a reference work, portrait of the artist, quotes, and biographical information.
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