Romantic art is a highly emotional school of art.   Romantic art revels in the individual, subjective, irrational, imaginative, personal, spontaneous, emotional, visionary and transcendental. It rejects order, calm, harmony, balance, idealization and rationality. Romantic art shows a preference for exotic, mysterious, monstrous, diseased, occult and even satanic subject matter.

Following the Napoleonic Era, Francisco Goya painted a series of paintings on the walls of his home all of which portrayed terrible, fantastical, or morbid imagery. These paintings are now called the Black Paintings, referring to the mental state of Goya during this dark time in his life, due to illness, which made him deaf, as well the political strife in Spain.

How does Goya’s painting of Saturn illustrate the Romantic school in comparison to the ideals of the Enlightenment led by neoclassical artist  David?

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13 Responses to Romanticism

  1. Paloma Díaz says:

    Goya’s painting shows an immense amount of emotions, including sorrow and despair. Saturn is shown without any recognizable expression of premeditation. The art of the Enlightenment Era was direct, clear-cut, and balanced. Unlike Romantic art which shows a inclination for unusual, secretive, horrific, diseased, and even satanic subject matter.

  2. Samantha Kosziollek says:

    Goya’s painting of Saturn illustrates the Romantic school as something terrifying in comparison to the ideals of the Enlightenment led by neoclassical artist David. The Enlighenment was more of a birth of new ideas, while Goya depicts it as a death – almost as if he is destroying the new ways of thinking.

  3. Daniel Chauca says:

    Romanticism emphasized the importance of emotion, sensitivity, passion, imagination, and intuition over reason. The painting of Saturn illustrates romanctism through its emotional emphasis. When you look at the painting, you feel disturbed and upset. Another way its reflects romanticism is that the painting gets its inspiration from events happening in the world. Goya became disillusioned with mankind after the Napoleonic Wars and the internal turmoil in Spain, which led him to paint his Black paintings, which includes “Saturn Devouring His Son”.

  4. Randy Edwards says:

    Goya’s painting of Saturn projects the thought of destruction and death. It almost seems to want to promote the strong emotion of hatred and at the same time maybe some kind of cannibal period in history where people have done this to survive. The enlightenment on the other hand projects the ideas of new ideas and rebellion against complete power to one person. This gives more of a feel of rebirth of a phoenix. From its ashes comes new life and a fresh start on everything.

  5. Neena Arias says:

    In Goya’s there is such violence and gore, a stark contrast to the ideals of the Enlightenment, in that the Enlightenment was all about the betterment of human beings and them doing right. You see in Goya’s a type of raw feeling that isn’t there in the Enlightenment.

  6. Joerenz Bolina says:

    Goya’s “dark age” art exemplified what the Romantic art age was all about: a preference for exotic, sometimes grotesque, mysterious, monstrous, diseased, occult, and even satanic subject matter. It sought to rebel from the classics and create an entirely new interpretation of art, on that was direct, fresh, and drawn from the common people and nature. It was liberal, not conventional. Goya’s ‘Saturn’ displays exactly that. Goya does not try to censor the painting; instead, he is direct in showing us the morbid, disturbing, and twisted image of the god Saturn devouring his own son out of power lust and insecurity. It’s exotically unique, yet bizarrely grim. This is the kind of painting you do not want inside your bedroom at night. He thus illustrates the Romantic era quite well through this painting.
    David, on the other hand, was a Neo-Classical artist. This type of art sought to return to old classics, such as that of the Greeks, and emulate (rather completely mimic) that art. This art was much more conventional than Goya and the Romantic art age. Neo-Classical art does the polar opposite of what Romantic art seeks to do. Goya and David differ in the sense that the former is more into painting exotic, direct messages that break away from conventionalism, while the latter focuses on emulating the classics and maintaining conventionalism. Goya can illustrate the Romantic school quite well, while David cannot; David can illustrate the Neo-Classical school quite well, while Goya… not so much.

    And that’s my two cents on Romanticism.

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