Term Paper: 15th Century Art

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Gothic Architecture in the Romantic Period

Between 1750 and 1850 in Europe, a new artistic style arose and prospered in Europe, one which is now referred to as the Romantic Period. This period originated toward the end of the 18th century in Germany, where critics wished to distinguish between "modern" traits and "classical" traits, such as those found in ancient Greek and Roman art forms. At this time, many artisans and supporters of the arts in Europe, particularly in England where Romanticism in literature began, revolted against the observable regularity of classical art and moved instead toward a style that had its beginnings some four hundred years before during the Medieval Era.

In architecture, this movement away from classical designs was aimed at showing that architecture did not necessarily have to contain elements of harmonious proportion and correct detail as illustrated in ancient Greek and Roman designs. Overall, the artists and architects of the Romantic Period desired to arouse pleasant and at times startling emotions in the beholder; thus, architecture, especially that based on the Gothic style, was a stimulus for new emotions and responses.

BLENHEIM PALACE:

One of the first examples of this "natural" Gothic style in architecture in England occurred in 1718 when John Vanbrugh, the architect of the Baroque Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, designed his own personal house to look like a Gothic castle, replete with spires, thin, latticed windows and very masculine lines among its numerous portices. This house is not, however, a pure expression of the Gothic, for it still retains some the designs and styles most closely associated with ancient Greek and Roman temples. At about the same time, the desirous qualities of the Gothic were just beginning to be appreciated by not only artists and architects but also the common people who lived and worked in the towns and villages that usually surrounded the vast estates of the aristocracy. As George M. Wedd points out, the uniqueness of the Gothic revival in 18th century England "was founded on and proclaimed moral values" and symbolized a retreat from religious styles; thus, "the Gothic style exactly fit the ideals" of those architects who sought a new means of physical expression (September 1997, 143).

WALPOLE'S STRAWBERRY HILL:

For many architects in England, the combination of the terms "Romantic" and "Gothic" were most closely linked to "ruins and other reminders of past grandeur and of the melancholy passage… [END OF PREVIEW]

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