French Romantic painting  

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French Romantic painting is epitomized by two paintings: Théodore Géricault's Raft of the Medusa (1819) and Eugène Delacroix's Death of Sardanapalus (1827), two paintings about death.



The French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars brought great changes to the arts in France. The program of exaltation and mythification of the Emperor Napoleon I of France was closely coordinated in the paintings of Gros and Guérin.

Meanwhile, Orientalism, Egyptian motifs, the tragic anti-hero, the sublime and the wild landscape, the historical novel and scenes from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, all these elements of Romanticism created a vibrant period that defies easy classification.

One also finds in the early period of the 19th century a repeat of the debate carried on in the 17th between the supporters of Rubens and Poussin: there are defenders of the "line" as found in Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, and the violent colors and curves as found in Eugène Delacroix. The comparison is however somewhat false, for Ingres' intense realism sometimes gives way to amazing voluptuousness in his Turkish bath scenes.

Shift towards Naturalism and Symbolism

The Romantic tendencies continued throughout the century: both idealized landscape painting and Naturalism have their seeds in Romanticism: both Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon school are logical developments, as is too the late 19th century Symbolism of such painters at Gustave Moreau (the professor of Matisse and Rouault) or Odilon Redon.

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See also

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