Leonie.e.Brown Art, Leonie Brown Artist, www.lifeart.co.za

What is Abstract Romanticism?

  1. Abstract art seeks to break away from traditional representation of physical objects. It explores the relationships of forms and colors, whereas more traditional art represents the world in recognizable images.

  2. Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution,[1]The movement emphasized intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe.

Many art historians will tell you that Romanticism slips through your fingers when you try to define it. That’s partly because Romantic artists didn’t have one style like the Impressionists or Expressionists. The movement was about intense personal expression, so artists could focus on whatever turned them on. In addition, the movement wasn’t grounded in France or Italy. It spread across most of Europe and later to the United States. Romanticism wasn’t merely a visual-arts movement — it included poetry, fiction, and music. There were even Romantic philosophers! The fact that Romanticism was so widespread and diverse makes it hard to squeeze it into one definition.

Romanticism doesn’t mean lying dreamy-eyed on a patch of clover or gazing wistfully into your lover’s eyes. It doesn’t refer to romance at all.

It means being a staunch individualist, believing in the rights of other individuals, and expressing deep, intense, and often uplifting emotions like Beethoven (whose Fifth Symphony marked the beginning of the Romantic era in music). Often, but not always, it means having a deep, spiritual relationship with nature. “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her,” wrote the British Romantic poet William Wordsworth in Tintern Abbey.

The most famous Romantic works of art are not paintings, poems, or symphonies, but three novels:

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Les Misérables, both by the French writer Victor Hugo, and Frankenstein, by 18-year-old British writer Mary Shelley. All three works are outcries against man’s inhumanity to man. To drive home the point, the writers magnify the inhumanity so we can see it better. They do this by directing it against outcasts: a hunchback, an ex-convict, and a manmade monster. The more of an outsider someone is, the more people abuse that person.

The Romantic period was the first time in history that art focused on teaching people to care about each other. In this sense, Romanticism was “art with a heart.” Romantic artists were also concerned with promoting individual liberty, ending slavery, and supporting democratic and independence movements.

Besides trying to improve social and political conditions, many Romantics went on inward quests to find and express a higher, truer reality than the one that confronts us from day to day. These painters and poets became prophets of a new Romantic spirituality. In “A Defense of Poetry,” Shelley wrote:

The great secret of morals is Love; or a going out of our own nature. . . . A man, to be greatly good . . . must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasures of the species must become his own.

Many Romantics believed that there was a basic goodness in man buried under layers of socialization. The idea was largely born in the brain of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In his influential book The Social Contract, he wrote, “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”

Originally, Romantic also meant the opposite of classical. Classical is calm, orderly, even serene, like the Venus de Milo. Romantic is wild — a painting or poem bursting at the seams with energy, meaning, and often intimations of something spiritual.

How does it apply to my work?

My art delves into the beauty, passion and intensity of creation and its Creator, God.  Expressed in layered themes of landscapes, and abstracted spiritually based art.

The idea is to make you feel, so stand in wonder, to be amazed. I want the viewer to be touched by what he or she sees. To walk away feeling encouraged.

On a daily basis we get bombarded by all that is bad in humanity, not the world. The world is still a beautiful place made ugly by our bad choices. I want to give people hope and peace again. There is enough of what is wrong all around us, but so much more is better and beautiful. I want people to see that beauty again, to experience life and goodness, to live and laugh again.

That is why I paint…

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