HAMPTON UNIVERSITYHAMPTON, VIRGINIAHUMANITIES PROGRAMExploring Realism, and RomanticismASHORT PAPERPRESENTED TOMR. OMPOFO & MR. LYONSFORHUMANITIES 202-05ENDURING HUMAN VALUES AND CULTURAL CONNECTIONSApril 15, 2000Realism and RomanticismRomanticism dominated the art and culture of the West until almost the last decade of the nineteenth century. The Realist point of view began to form as early as the 1850’s. As a start, realism called for an objective and unidealized assessment of everyday life. The word realism is often used in both philosophy and the arts, though in each field the meaning is quite different. In philosophy realism had a different meaning in the ancient world than it does in its modern application. Realism in the arts refers to accurate and detailed depictions of life and its problems whether in painting literature, drama, or film. Realism was first proposed in France in the middle of the nineteenth century. There are varying points of view on the uses of realism. Some painters and writers believed that realist art should be accurate and detached. Others insist that the purpose of realism is to illustrate the problems of the underprivileged and to promote social change. The first painter to claim himself as a realist painter was Gustave Courbet. In his opinion painting was an art of the visible and concrete. In the United States, the 19th and 20th realist painters were William Harnett, John Peto, Thomas Eakins, Robert Henri, William Glackens, and many more.
Among the leading ancient philosophers the leading realist was Plato. He believed that reality consisted of eternal ideas or forms, not the observable world. Every separate object in the world is only an expression of possibilities inherent in a form. In modern philosophy, realism refers to the belief that the world of physical objects exists independently of human observation, and it is the task of scientists to investigate the nature of reality.
Romanticism is used to describe the forces that have helped shape the modern world. So influential, Romanticism has been around since the late 18th century that one author called it “the profoundest cultural transformation in human history since the invention of the city.” It was not a movement; it was a series of movements that had dynamic impacts on art, literature, science, religion, economics, politics, and the individuals understanding of self. Not all streams of Romanticism were the same; some were in fact almost completely opposite in their effect. Romanticism did not erupt suddenly; it is dated back to 1774 during the publication of Johann Von Goethe’s ‘Sorrows of Werther’. It was a novel about a young man who was so disappointed in love that he kills himself. This fictional suicide brought on many real ones as the novels voyage swept across Europe. Throughout more than two centuries since its emergence, Romanticism has taken a number of twists and turns. Some of its phases were complete contradictions of others, yet its dynamism has not diminished. Marketing Essays