Manifesto of Romanticism  

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A number of texts and paintings have been called manifestoes of Romanticism.

In the English tradition, there is Wordsworth's and Coleridge's Preface to the Lyrical Ballads (1802).

In France, De l'Allemagne by Madame de Staël (1813), and Victor Hugo's preface to the 1827 play Cromwell is said to be a manifesto of Romanticism.

In French painting, Théodore Géricault's The Raft of the Medusa has been called the "first Romantic painting".

Besides these texts and paintings, a couple of dicta deserve attention:

For example, the importance the Romantics placed on untrammelled feeling is summed up in the remark of the German painter Caspar David Friedrich that "the artist's feeling is his law" and by William Wordsworth who said that poetry should be "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings".

But before all of these, there was Fransisco Goya who in a letter by Goya to Bernardo de Iriarte dated January 4, 1794, wrote:

I have devoted myself to painting a group of pictures in which I have I have succeeded in making observations for which there is normally no opportunity in commissioned works, which give no scope for fantasy and invention.” (tr. Enriqueta Harris)

Goya's insistence on his artistic freedom (key to the notion of "romantic originality") in making art with 'fantasy' and 'invention' "for which there is normally no opportunity in commissioned works" makes this dictum one of the candidates for a Manifesto of Romanticism.

Starting points for Romanticism

Already in 1924, Arthur Lovejoy wrote in "On the Discrimination of Romanticisms" on the many interpretations of what Romanticism is.

According to Tim Blanning in The Romantic Revolution starting points for Romanticism include:

"Piranesi's Roman Antiquities of the Time of the Republic of 1748 (Michel Florisoone); the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 (Kenneth Clark); Rousseau's Rousseau's La Nouvelle Héloïse of 1761 (Maurice Cranston); Herder's journey to France in 1769 (Rüdiger Safranski); Blake's Songs of Innocence of 1789 (Maurice Bowra); and Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder and Ludwig Tieck's Heart-Felt Effusions of an Art Loving Monk of 1797 (Hans Joachim Schoeps). Other popular runners are Rousseau's conversion experience on the road to Vincennes in 1749, Horace Walpole's nightmare which led to the writing of The Castle of Otranto in 1764; and Goethe's enthusiastic response to Strassburg Cathedral in 1770."

See also

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