A Survey of Romantic and Realistic Paintings

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A Survey of Romantic and Realistic Paintings Fantasy and reality occupy our worlds everyday.One sees this world around himself and he retreats to what he wishes it was.Why shouldn't he paint about it?The portrayal of fantastic and realistic notions occupied the activity of painters from the mid 1800's to the 20th century.The period of Romantic painting lies roughly from the mid 1700s to the mid/later 1800s, while paintings from the movement of Realism are grouped from the mid 1800s to the 1900s.

The aspect of a Romantic composition's balance is characterized by diagonals and tension.Disproportion, imbalance and a feeling of pushing and pulling within the depth of the composition can also be observed.While movement and activity is characteristic of Romantic paintings, a still, quiet, stationary behavior epitomizes Realism paintings.In Eugene Isabey's Boat Ashore at Calas (1851), simple romantic elements comprise the piece: diagonals and smoke.

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A main diagonal line emphasizes the downward slope of a shore lined with beached boats resting upon the sand.A challenging inferior diagonal line of a small group of people and their dinghies cross the main diagonal flow.The two lines of tension resolve at the lower center of the composition highlighting the main, looming subject – a dark massive apparition of a docked, freight boat enshrouded by blackening smoke.This is in contrast to Gustave Courbet's depiction of sea life in The Calm Sea (1869).The painting resembles a high resolution black and white photograph.Realistic elements are the stationary flatness of the horizon and the solitary presence of two single beached boats.

The portrayal of the shoreline, horizon and cloud formation is horizontally stable, thus emphasizing the calmness of the sea. Baron Antoine-Jean Gros' Murat Defeating the Turkish Army (1805) is a composition which presents an overwhelming flow of diagonal tens…


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