Nature and the Nature of Romanticism: Paper

Sample Paper

Words 2,027

Thomas Moran and Marsden Hartley are names not on the radar of most people today, although they were both respected artists in their time. Taken together they represent the beginning and end of the era of the Romantic landscape in American painting, and if their works are no longer valued as they once were it is not so much that later generations have found their talent wanting as that we now no longer have the appreciation for landscapes that the Romantics did.

Romantic artists were connected to the natural world in a way that it is difficult for us to understand today. Indeed, we cannot appreciate the paintings of these two artists unless we ground them in the cultural and historical concerns of their own time for their meaning is inherent in them, lying at the intersection of the aesthetic qualities of these paintings and the historical conditions of their birth.

The world of the 19th century was one in flux, in which a number of traditional certainties had been cast aside. Society was becoming once and forever unhinged from its traditional agrarian base, and in this process, people were losing the compass points that had guided their ancestors for generations. The world for the resident of the Victorian era was at once vaster and more frightening, more full of discoveries to be made that it had been since the Age of Exploration.

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